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Title: Les Bijoux Indiscrets, or, The Indiscreet Toys
Author: Diderot, Denis
Language: English
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_Les Bijoux Indiscrets._

OR,

The Indiscreet Toys.


[By Denis Diderot.]


Translated from the Congese Language.
Printed at Monomotapa.


In Two Volumes.
Adorned with Copper-Plates.


_TOBAGO:_
Re-printed for _Pierrot Ragout_, with the
Approbation of _M----l S----xe_,
MDCCXLIX.

And sold by R. Freeman, near St. _Paul's_;
and at all the Booksellers.



TO ZIMA.


Zima, embrace the moment. The Aga Narkis entertains your mother,
and your governess is upon the watch in a balcony for your father's
return: take, read, fear nothing. But even tho' the _Bijoux indiscrets_
should be found behind your toilet, do you think it would be a matter
of wonder? No, Zima, no; it is well known, that the _Sopha_, the
_Tanzai_, and the _Confessions_ have been under your pillow. Do you
hesitate still? Know then, that Aglaé has not disdained to set her
hand to the work, which you blush to accept. "Aglaé," say you, "the
sober Aglaé!"--The same. While Zima was straying with, or perhaps
contriving how to get rid of the young Bonza Alleluia; Aglaé amused
herself innocently, by relating to me the adventures of Zaide, Alphana,
Fannia, &c.--furnished me with the few strokes, which please me in the
history of Mangogul, revised it, and pointed me out the means of making
it better: for if Aglaé is one of the most virtuous and least edifying
women in Congo; she is likewise one of the least jealous of wit, and
one of the most witty. Can Zima now think, that it becomes her to play
the scrupulous? Once more, Zima, take, read, read all; even without
excepting the narrative of the _Rambling Toy_, which may be interpreted
to you, without any expence to your virtue, provided the interpreter be
neither your spiritual director nor your lover.



CONTENTS.


Preface

Chap. I.        Birth of Mangogul.

Chap. II.       Education of Mangogul.

Chap. III.      Which may be regarded as the first of this History.

Chap. IV.       Evocation of the Genius.

Chap. V.        Mangogul's dangerous temptation.

Chap. VI.       First Trial of the Ring, or Alcina.

Chap. VII.      Second Trial of the Ring, or the Altars.

Chap. VIII.     Third Trial of the Ring, or the private Supper.

Chap. IX.       The state of the Academy of Sciences at Banza.

Chap. X.        Less learned and less tedious than the preceding.
                Continuation of the Academical Sitting.

Chap. XI.       Fourth Trial of the Ring, or the Echo.

Chap. XII.      Fifth Trial of the Ring, or Play.

Chap. XIII.     Sixth Trial of the Ring, or the Opera at Banza.

Chap. XIV.      Orcotomus's Experiments.

Chap. XV.       The Bramins.

Chap. XVI.      The Muzzles.

Chap. XVII.     The two Devouts.

Chap. XVIII.    The Toyman's Return.

Chap. XIX.      Seventh Trial of the Ring, or the stifled Toy.

Chap. XX.       Eighth Trial of the Ring, or the Vapors.

Chap. XXI.      Ninth Trial of the Ring, or Things lost and found.

Chap. XXII.     A sketch of Mangogul's Moral Philosophy.

Chap. XXIII.    Tenth Trial of the Ring, or the Dogs.

Chap. XXIV.     Eleventh Trial of the Ring, or the Pensions.

Chap. XXV.      Twelfth Trial of the Ring, or a Law-Case.

Chap. XXVI.     Mirzoza's Metaphysical Essay, or the Soul.

Chap. XXVII.    Sequel of the preceding Conversation.

Chap. XXVIII.   Thirteenth Trial of the King, or the little Mare.

Chap. XXIX.     Mangogul's Dream, or a Voyage into the Region of
                Hypotheses.

Chap. XXX.      Fourteenth Trial of the Ring, or the Mute Toy.

Chap. XXXI.     Was Mangogul in the right?

Chap. XXXII.    The fifteenth Trial of the Ring, or Alphana.

Chap. XXXIII.   Sixteenth Trial of the Ring, or the _Petits-maitres_.

Chap. XXXIV.    Seventeenth Trial of the Ring, or the Comedy.

Chap. XXXV.     Conversation on Literature.

Chap. XXXVI.    Eighteenth and nineteenth Trials of the Ring, or the
                flatted Spheroïd, and Girgiro the entangled.

Chap. XXXVII.   Mirzoza's Dream.

Chap. XXXVIII.  Twenty-first and twenty-second Trials of the Ring,
                or Fricamona and Callipiga.

Chap. XXXIX.    Dreams.

Chap. XL.       Twenty-third Trial of the Ring, or Fannia.

Chap. XLI.      The History of Selim's Travels.

Chap. XLII.     Twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth Trials of the Ring,
                or, the Masquerade, and Sequel of the Masquerade.

Chap. XLIII.    Selim at Banza.

Chap. XLIV.     Twenty-sixth Trial of the Ring, or the Rambling Toy.

Chap. XLV.      Cydalisa.

Chap. XLVI.     Twenty-seventh Trial of the Ring, or Fulvia.

Chap. XLVII.    Prodigious Events of the Reign of Kanaglou,
                Mangogul's Grand-father.

Chap. XLVIII.   Twenty-eighth Trial of the Ring, or Olympia.

Chap. XLIX.     Twenty-ninth Trial of the Ring, or Zuleiman and Zaide.

Chap. L.        Platonic Love.

Chap. LI.       Thirtieth and last Trial of the Ring, or Mirzoza.



[Transcriber's Note: Chapters I.-XXI. of the second volume of the
1749 publication have been renumbered XXXI.-LI. Illustrations weren't
present in the copy of the English edition we used, we added those from
the original French (at Gallica, Bibliothèque nationale de France.]



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

1.  Cupid in Bed (_frontispiece_).

2.  Man, Woman and Cupid, or _Folly, Imagination,_ and _Love_.

3.  Evocation of the Genius.

4.  Dogs and Lady in Bed.

5.  The Mare, &c.

6.  The Bubble-blower.

7.  Women walking on their hands.

8.  Man and Lady on a Sopha (Zuleiman).



The Indiscreet Toys.


CHAP. I.

_Birth of Mangogul._


Hiaouf Zeles Tanzai had already reigned long in great Chechianea,
and this voluptuous prince still continued to be the delight of his
subjects. Acajou king of Minutia had undergone the fate predicted by
his father: Zulmis was no more: the Count De ---- was still living:
Splendidus, Angola, Misapouf and some other potentates of the Indies
and Asia were carried off by sudden deaths. The people tired of
obeying weak sovereigns, had shaken off the yoke of their posterity;
and the descendants of those unfortunate monarchs rambled unknown, or
not regarded, in the provinces of their empires. The grandson of the
illustrious Scheherazad was the only one who maintain'd his throne: and
he was obeyed in Indostan by the name of Schach Baam, at the time when
Mangogul was born in Congo. Thus it appears, that the death of several
sovereigns was the mournful epoch of his birth.

His father Erguebzed did not summon the Fairies round the cradle of
his son; because he had observed, that most of the princes of his
time, who had been educated by these female intelligences, were no
better than fools. He contented himself with ordering his nativity to
be calculated by one Codindo, a person fitter for a portrait than an
acquaintance.

Codindo, was head of the college of Soothsayers at Banza, the ancient
capital of the empire. Erguebzed had settled a large pension on him,
and had granted to him and his descendants, on account of the merit of
their great uncle, who was an excellent cook, a magnificent castle on
the frontiers of Congo. Codindo was appointed to observe the flight of
birds, and the state of the heavens, and to make a report thereof at
court: which office he executed very indifferently. If it be true, that
they had at Banza the best theatrical pieces, and the worst play-houses
in all Africa; in return they had the most beautiful college in the
world, and the most wretched predictions.

Codindo, informed of the business for which he was summoned to
Erguebzed's palace, set out much embarrassed; for the poor man could
no more read the stars than you or I. He was expected with impatience.
The principal lords of the court were assembled in the appartment of
the great Sultana. The ladies, magnificently dress'd, stood round the
infant's cradle. The courtiers were hurrying to congratulate with
Erguebzed on the great things, which he was undoubtedly on the point
of hearing concerning his son. Erguebzed was a father, and thought it
quite natural, to discern in the unform'd lines of an infant, what he
was to be. In fine, Codindo arrived. "Draw near," says Erguebzed to
him: "as soon as heaven had granted me the prince before you, I ordered
the instant of his birth to be exactly registered, and without doubt
you have been informed of it. Speak sincerely to your Master, and tell
him boldly the destiny which heaven has reserved for his Son."

"Most magnanimous Sultan," answered Codindo, "the prince, born of
parents equally illustrious and happy, can have no other than a great
and fortunate destiny: but I should impose on your highness, if I
plumed myself with a science which I do not possess. The stars rise and
set for me as for the rest of mankind; and I am not more enlightened in
futurity by their means, than the most ignorant of your subjects."

"But," replied the Sultan, "are you not an astrologer?" "Magnanimous
prince," answered Codindo, "I have not that honour."

"What the devil are you then?" says the old, but passionate Erguebzed.
"An Aruspex! By the heavens I did not imagine, that you had so much as
thought of it. Believe me, Seigneur Codindo, suffer your poultry to
feed in quiet, and pronounce on the fate of my son, as you lately did
on the cold of my wife's parrot."

Codindo immediately drew a glass out of his pocket, took the infant's
left ear, rubb'd his eyes, turn'd his spectacles again and again,
peep'd at that ear, did the like to the right ear, and pronounced,
"that the young prince's reign would be happy, if it proved long."

"I understand you," replied Erguebzed: "my son will do the finest
things in the world, if he has time. But, zounds! what I want to have
told me is, that he will have time. What matter is it to me, after he
is dead, that he would have been the greatest prince upon earth, had he
lived. I have sent for you to cast my son's horoscope, and you make me
his funeral oration."

Codindo assured the prince, that he was sorry he was not more knowing;
but beseeched his highness to consider, that his knowledge was
sufficient for the little time he had been a conjurer. In effect, the
moment before, what was Codindo?



CHAP. II.

_Education of Mangogul._


I will pass lightly over Mangogul's first years. The infancy of princes
is the same with that of the rest of mankind; with this difference,
however, that princes have the gift of saying a thousand pretty things,
before they can speak. Thus before Erguebzed's son was full four years
old, he furnished matter for a volume of Mangogulana. Erguebzed, who
was a man of sense, and was resolved that his son's education should
not be so much neglected as his own had been, sent betimes for all
the great men in Congo; as, painters, philosophers, poets, musicians,
architects, masters of dancing, mathematicks, history, fencing, &c.
Thanks to the happy dispositions of Mangogul, and to the constant
lessons of his masters, he was ignorant in nothing of what a young
prince is wont to learn the first fifteen years of his life; and at
the age of twenty he could eat, drink, and sleep, as completely as any
potentate of his age.

Erguebzed, whose weight of years began to make him feel the weight
of his crown, tired with holding the reins of the empire, frighted
at the disturbances which threatened it, full of confidence in the
superior qualifications of Mangogul, and urged by sentiments of
religion, sure prognostics of the approaching death or imbecility of
the great, descended from the throne, to seat his son thereon: and
this good prince thought he was under an obligation of expiating, by a
retirement, the crimes of the most just administration, of which there
is any account in the annals of Congo.

Thus it was, that in the year of the world 15,000,000,032,000,021, of
the empire of Congo 390,000,070,003, began the reign of Mangogul, the
1,234,500 of his race in a direct line. Frequent conferences with his
ministers, wars carried on, and the management of affairs, taught him
in a very short time what remained for him to know at getting out of
the hands of his pedagogues; and that was somewhat.

However, in less than ten years Mangogul acquired the reputation of
a great man. He gained battles, stormed towns, enlarged his empire,
quieted his provinces, repaired the disorder of his finances, restored
arts and sciences, raised edifices, immortalized himself by useful
establishments, strengthened and corrected the legislative power, even
founded academies; and, what his university could never comprehend, he
executed all these great things, without knowing one word of Latin.

Mangogul was not less amiable in his Seraglio than great on the throne.
He did not take it into his head to regulate his conduct by the
ridiculous customs of his country. He broke the gates of the palaces
inhabited by his women; he drove out those injurious guards of their
virtue; he prudently confided in themselves for their fidelity: the
entrance into their appartments was as free for men as into those of
the canonesses of Flanders; and doubtless their behaviour as decent.
Oh! how good a Sultan he was! There never was his equal, but in some
French romance. He was mild, affable, chearful, gallant, of a charming
figure, a lover of pleasures, cut out for them, and contained more wit
and sense in his head, than had been in those of all his predecessors
put together.

'Tis easy to judge that, with such uncommon merit, a number of the
sex aspired to make him their conquest: Some few succeeded. Those who
miss'd his heart, endeavour'd to console themselves with the grandees
of the court. Young Mirzoza was of the number of the former. I shall
not amuse myself with detailing the qualities and charms of Mirzoza:
the work would be without end, and I am resolved that this history
shall have one.



CHAP. III.

_Which may be regarded as the first of this history._


Mirzoza had already fixed Mangogul for some years. These lovers had
said, and a thousand times repeated, all that a violent passion
suggests to persons who have the most wit. They were got as far as
confidences, and they would impute it to themselves as a crime, to
conceal the most minute circumstance of their lives from each other.
These singular suppositions, "If heaven, which has placed me on the
throne, had given me an obscure low birth, would you have deign'd to
descend down to me, would Mirzoza have crown'd me?" "Should Mirzoza
happen to lose the few charms which she is thought to have, would
Mangogul love her still?" These suppositions, I say, which exercise the
fancy of ingenious lovers, which sometimes make tender lovers quarrel,
and frequently oblige the most sincere lovers to tell untruths, were
quite worn out between our pair.

The favorite, who possess'd in a supreme degree, the necessary and
uncommon talent of making a good narrative, had drained the scandalous
history of Banza. As she had not the best constitution, she was not
always disposed to receive the Sultan's caresses, nor he always in
the humour of offering them. In short, there were some days, in which
Mangogul and Mirzoza had little to say, hardly any thing to do, and
in which, without any diminution of love, they amused themselves but
indifferently. Those days were rare indeed, but there were some; and
this was one of them.

The Sultan was carelessly stretch'd on a sopha, opposite to the
favorite, who was knotting in silence. The weather did not permit
them to take a walk. Mangogul would not venture to propose a party
of piquet; and this posture had lasted near a quarter of an hour,
when the Sultan, yawning several times, said, "It must be allowed,
that Geliotta sung like an angel." "And that your highness is tired
to death," answered the favorite. "No, Madam," replied Mangogul,
endeavouring to smother a yawn, "the minute that one sees you, is not
that of tiresomeness." "If that is not a polite compliment, 'tis no
body's fault but your own," rejoin'd Mirzoza: "but you ponder, you
are absent, you yawn. Prince, what ails you?" "I know not," said the
Sultan. "But I guess," continued the favorite. "I was eighteen, when
I had the good fortune to please you. It is full four years since you
began to love me. Eighteen and four make twenty-two. Therefore I am
now very old." Mangogul smiled at this calculation. "But if I am no
longer worth any thing for pleasure," added Mirzoza, "I will at least
demonstrate that I am very good for advice. The variety of amusements
which attend you, has not been able to secure you against disgust. You
are disgusted. Prince, there is your disease." "I do not allow, that
you have hit it off," says Mangogul: "but supposing you have, do you
know a remedy?" Mirzoza answered the Sultan, after a moment's pause,
that his highness seem'd to take so much pleasure at the narratives she
made him of the gallantries of the town, that she was sorry she had no
more to relate to him, or that she was not better informed of those of
the court; that she would have tried that expedient, till she thought
of somewhat better. "I think it a good one," says Mangogul: "But who
knows the stories of all those fools; and tho' they were known to any,
who could relate them like you?" "Let us learn them however," replied
Mirzoza. "Whosoever it be that tells them, I am certain that your
highness will gain more by the matter, than you will lose by the form."
"I shall join with you, if you please, in fancying the adventures of
the court ladies very diverting," says Mangogul: "but tho' they were to
be a hundred times more so, what does that avail, if it be impossible
to come at them?" "There may be a difficulty in it," answers Mirzoza,
"but in my opinion, that is all. The Genius Cucufa, your relation and
friend, has done greater things. Why do you not consult him?" "Ah, joy
of my heart!" cried the Sultan, "you are an admirable Creature. I make
no doubt but the Genius will employ all his power in my favour. This
moment I shut myself up in my closet, and invoke him."

Accordingly Mangogul arose, kissed the favorite on the left eye,
pursuant to the custom of Congo, and departed.



CHAP. IV.

_Evocation of the Genius._


The Genius Cucufa is an old hypochondriac, who fearing lest the
concerns of the world, and dealings with the rest of the genii, might
prove an obstacle to his salvation, took refuge in the Void; in order
to employ himself quite at leisure on the infinite perfections of the
great Pagoda, to pinch, scratch and make notches in his flesh, to fret
himself into madness, and starve himself to death. In that place he
lies on a straw mat, his body tuck'd up in a sack, his flanks squeez'd
with a cord, his arms crossed on his breast, and his head sunk into
a hood, which suffers nothing to issue but the end of his beard. He
sleeps, but one would think him in contemplation. All his company
is an owl which nods at his feet, some rats which gnaw his mat, and
bats which hover round his head. The manner of evoking him, is, by
repeating, to the sound of a bell, the first verse of the nocturnal
office of the Bramins: then he lifts up his hood, rubs his eyes, puts
on his sandals, and sets out. Figure to yourself an old Camaldolian
Monk carried in the air by two large horn-owls, which he holds by the
legs. In this equipage it was, that Cucufa appear'd to the Sultan.
"May the blessing of Brama be within these walls," says he, bowing.
"Amen," answered the prince. "What do you want, my son?" "A very small
matter," says Mangogul; "to procure me some pleasure at the expence of
the court ladies." "Oh, my son!" replied Cucufa, "you have a larger
appetite than a whole monastery of Bramins. What do you pretend to
do with this troop of extravagants?" "To learn from themselves their
present and past adventures, that is all." "But that is impossible,"
says the Genius. "To have women confess their adventures, is a thing
that never was, nor ever will be." "Yet it must be," added the Sultan.
At these words, the Genius scratching his ear, and combing his long
beard with his fingers, fell to thinking. His meditation was short.
"My child," said he to Mangogul, "I love you, you shall be satisfied."
Instantly he plunged his right hand into a deep pocket made under his
arm-pit on the left side of his frock, and, together with images,
bless'd beads, little leaden pagoda's, and musty sweatmeats, drew out
a silver ring, which Mangogul at first took for one of St. Hubert's
rings. "You see this ring," said he to the Sultan, "put it on your
finger, my child: every woman, at whom you shall level the stone, will
relate her intrigues in a plain, audible voice. Do not imagine however,
that 'tis by the mouth that they are to speak." "By what then will they
speak?" says Mangogul. "By the frankest part about them, and the best
instructed in those things which you desire to know," says Cucufa; "by
their Toys." "By their Toys," replies Mangogul bursting into laughter;
"that is particular. Talking Toys! That is an unheard extravagance."
"My son," said the Genius, "I have performed many greater prodigies
for your grandfather: therefore depend on my word. Go, and may Brama
bless you. Make a good use of your secret, and remember that there are
ill-placed curiosities." This said, the old hypocrite nodded his head,
pull'd his hood over his face, took his horn-owls by the legs, and
vanish'd in the air.



CHAP. V.

_Mangogul's dangerous Temptation._


Scarcely was Mangogul in possession of Cucufa's mysterious ring,
when he was tempted to make the first trial of it on the favorite. I
forgot to mention, that besides the vertue of obliging the Toys of
those women, on whom he turn'd the stone, to speak, it had that also
of rendering the person invisible, who wore it on the little finger.
Thus could Mangogul transport himself in the twinkling of an eye to a
thousand places where he was not expected, and with his own eyes see
many things, which are frequently transacted without witnesses. He had
nothing more to do than to put on his ring, and say "I desire to be
in such a place," and he was there in an instant. Behold him then in
Mirzoza's bed-chamber.

Mirzoza, who gave over all hopes of the Sultan's company, was in bed.
Mangogul approach'd her pillow softly, and saw by the glimmering
light of a night taper, that she was asleep. "Good," say he, "she
sleeps, let us quickly shift the ring on another finger, resume our
natural shape, turn the stone on this fair sleeper, and awake her
Toy a little while.--But what stops me?--I tremble.--Is it possible
that Mirzoza?--No, it is not possible, Mirzoza is faithful to me.
Fly from me, injurious suspicions, I will not, I ought not to heed
ye." He said, and put his fingers on the ring: but taking them off as
hastily as if it had been fire, he cried within himself. "What do I do,
wretched man! I insult Cucufa's advice. For the sake of satisfying a
silly curiosity, I am going to run the hazard of losing my mistress and
my life. If her Toy should be in the humor of talking extravagantly,
I should never see her more, and I should dye of grief. And who knows
what a Toy may have in its soul?" Mangogul's agitation made him in some
measure forget himself: he pronounced these last words pretty loud, and
the favorite awoke. "Ah, Prince," said she, less surprized than charmed
at his presence, "you are here. Why did you not send me notice? Must
you condescend to wait for my awaking?"

Mangogul answered the favorite by relating the success of his interview
with Cucufa, shew'd her the ring, and did not conceal one of its
properties from her. "Ah! what a diabolical secret has he given you!"
cry'd Mirzoza. "But pray, Prince, do you intend to make any use of it."
"How," said the Sultan, "do I intend to use it? I shall begin by you,
if you argue with me." At these terrible words the favorite turn'd
pale, trembled, recover'd herself, and conjured the Sultan by Brama,
and all the Pagoda's of the Indies and Congo, not to try the experiment
on her of a secret power, which indicated a diffidence of her fidelity.
"If I have been constantly honest," continued she, "my Toy will not
speak a word, and you will have done me such an injury as I shall
never forgive. If it happens to speak, I shall lose your esteem and
heart, and that will make you run distracted. Hitherto you have, in my
opinion, found your account in our connection; why would you run the
risk of breaking it off? Prince, believe me. Follow the advice of the
Genius; he has had great experience, and advices of Genius are always
good to follow."

"This is exactly what I was saying to myself," answered Mangogul, "when
you awoke. And yet if you had slept two minutes longer, I cannot answer
for what might have happened."

"What would have happened," says Mirzoza, "is, that my Toy would have
given you no information, and that you would have lost me for ever."

"That may be," replied Mangogul; "but now that I have a full view of
the danger which I incurred, I solemnly swear to you by the eternal
Pagoda, that you shall be excepted from the number of those, on whom I
shall turn the ring."

At these words Mirzoza brightened up, and fell to joking at the expence
of the Toys which the Prince should hereafter interrogate. "Cydalisa's
Toy," said she, "has many stories to tell, and if it be as indiscreet
as its mistress, it will not require much intreaty. Haria's Toy is
no longer of this world, and your highness will obtain no tales from
it of fresher date than the days of my grandmother. As for that of
Glauce, I believe it is a proper one to be consulted. She is a coquet
and pretty." "And for that reason precisely it is," replied the Sultan,
"that her Toy will be mute." "Why then," said the Sultana, "apply to
that of Phedima, she is ugly, and loves gallantry." "Yes," continued
the Sultan; "and so ugly, that one must be as ill-natured as you, to
accuse her of gallantry. Phedima is sober; 'tis I who say it, and who
know something of the matter." "As sober as you please," replied the
favorite, "but she has a sort of grey eyes that speak the contrary."
"Her eyes belye her," said the Sultan warmly. "You tire my patience
with your Phedima. Might not one say, that there is no other Toy but
this to examine." "But may I presume, without offending your highness,"
added Mirzoza, "to ask which is the first you intend to honour with
your choice." "We shall see anon," said Mangogul, "in the circle of the
Manimonbanda, (the Congese name of the great Sultana). We shall have
a good deal of work upon our hands and when we happen to be tired of
the Toys of my court, we may chance make a tour thro' Banza. Possibly
we may find those of the city women more reasonable than those of
dutchesses." "Prince," said Mirzoza, "I have some acquaintance with
the former, and can assure you, that they are only more circumspect."
"We shall soon hear from them: but I cannot refrain from laughter,"
continued Mangogul, "when I think on the confusion and surprize of
these women at the first words of their Toys, ha, ha, ha! Remember,
delight of my soul, that I shall expect you at the great Sultana's,
and that I shall make no use of my ring till you are come." "Prince,"
said Mirzoza, "I rely on the promise you have made me." Mangogul smiled
at her allarm, reiterated his promise, sealed them with kisses, and
retired.



CHAP. VI.

_First Trial of the Ring._

Alcina.


Mangogul arrived before her at the great Sultana's, and found all the
ladies very busy at cards. He survey'd all those, whose reputation was
established, fully resolved to try his ring on one of them, and his
only difficulty was in the choice. While, he was in suspence by whom
to begin, he spied a young lady of the household of the Manimonbanda
in a window. She was toying with her husband; which appear'd singular
to the Sultan, inasmuch as they had been married above eight days.
They had made their appearance in the same box at the Opera, in the
same coach at the Bois de Boulogne, they had finished their visits;
and the fashion of the times exempted them from loving or even meeting
each other. "If this Toy," says Mangogul, "is as silly as its mistress,
we shall have a diverting soliloquy." At this instant the favorite
appear'd. "Welcome," said the Sultan to her in a whisper. "I have cast
my lead, waiting for you." "And on whom?" ask'd Mirzoza. "On that
couple which you see sporting in that window," answer'd Mangogul with a
wink. "Well set out," replied the favorite.

Alcina, for that was the young lady's name, was sprightly and pretty.
The Sultan's court had few women more amiable, and not one of a gayer
disposition. One of the Sultan's Emirs had filled his head with her.
He was not left in ignorance of what the chronicle had published
concerning Alcina: the report alarm'd him, but he followed the custom:
he consulted his mistress about it. Alcina swore, that it was pure
calumny invented by some coxcombs, who would have been silent, if
they had had any reason for talking; but however, that there was no
harm done, and that he was at full liberty to believe it or not, as
he thought proper. This answer, delivered with an air of confidence,
convinced the amorous Emir of his mistress's innocence. He closed
the affair, and assumed the title of Alcina's husband with all its
prerogatives.

The Sultan levelled his ring at her. A loud burst of laughter, which
seized Alcina at some comical saying of her husband, was suddenly cut
short by the operation of the ring; and immediately a murmuring noise
was heard under her petticoats. "Well, now I am titled. Truly I am
glad on't. Nothing like having a rank. If my first advices had been
heeded, I should have been provided with something better than an
Emir: but yet an Emir is better than nothing." At these words all the
ladies quitted the game, to seek from what quarter the voice issued.
This movement made a great noise. "Silence," says Mangogul, "this
deserves attention." They obeyed, and the Toy continued. "One would be
apt to think, that a husband is a guest of great importance, by the
precautions which are taken to receive him. What preparatives! What
profusion of myrtle water! Another fortnight of this regimen would
have demolished me. I had disappear'd, and the Emir might have sought
lodgings elsewhere, or have shipped me off for the island Jonquille."
Here my author says, that all the ladies grew pale, look'd at each
other in deep silence, and grew vastly serious; which he ascribes to
their fear, lest the conversation should grow warm, and become general.
"Yet," continued Alcina's Toy, "in my opinion the Emir did neither
require nor stand in need of so many formalities: but I must still
acknowledge the prudence of my mistress. She guarded against the worst,
and I was treated for the great lord as for his little page."

The Toy was on the point of continuing its extravagant harangue, when
the Sultan, observing that this strange scene shock'd the modest
Manimonbanda, interrupted the orator by turning off the ring. The Emir
had vanish'd at the first words of his wife's Toy. Alcina, without
being disconcerted, pretended to take a nap: mean while the ladies
whispered that she had the vapours. "Yes," says a _Petit-maitre_, "----
Vapours: Ch----y calls them hysterics, as much as to say, things which
come from the lower region. For this case he has a divine elixir; it is
a principle, principiating, principiated, which revives----which----I
will propose it to the lady." The company laugh'd at this gibberish,
and our Cynic resumed. "Nothing more true, ladies: I, who speak, have
used it for a deperdition of substance." "A deperdition of substance,
good marquiss," said a young person, "pray what is that?" "Madam,"
replied the marquiss, "it is one of those casual accidents which
happen----but every body knows it."

By this time the pretended drowziness went off. Alcina sat down to play
with as much intrepidity as if her Toy either had not spoken a word,
or had made the finest speech in the world. Nay, she was the only lady
that play'd without distraction. This sitting was worth a considerable
sum to her. The rest did not know what they were about, could not count
the dots on the cards, forgot their reckonings, neglected their good
luck, dealt wrong, and committed a hundred other mistakes, of which
Alcina took the advantage. In fine, they broke up play, and every one
withdrew.

This adventure made great noise not only at court and in town, but
all over Congo. Epigrams were handed about on it. The discourse of
Alcina's Toy was published, revised, corrected, enlarged and commented
by the Agreeables of the court. The Emir was lampoon'd, and his wife
immortalized. She was pointed at in the play-house, and followed in the
public walks. People flock'd about her, and she heard them buzzing:
"Yes, 'tis she: her Toy made a discourse two hours long." Alcina bore
her new reputation with admirable tranquillity. She listened to these
expressions, and many more, with a serenity, which the rest of the
women could not shew. They were every moment under apprehensions of
some indiscretions being committed by their Toys: but the adventure of
the following chapter compleated their confusion.

As soon as the company had broke up, Mangogul gave his hand to the
favorite, and conduced her to her appartment. She was far from having
that lively chearful air, which seldom quitted her. She had lost
considerably at play, and the effect of the dreadful ring had plunged
her into a pensiveness, out of which she was not yet thoroughly
recovered. She knew the Sultan's curiosity, and she had not sufficient
confidence in the promises of a man less amorous than despotic, to
be free from uneasiness. "What ails you, my soul's delight?" said
Mangogul. "You are pensive." "I played with bad luck without example,"
answered Mirzoza. "I lost the possibility. I had twelve tableaux, and
I don't think I mark'd three times." "That is vexatious," replied
Mangogul; "but what think you of my secret?" "Prince," said the
favorite, "I persist in deeming it diabolical. Doubtless it will amuse
you, but that amusement will be attended with dismal consequences. You
are going to spread discord in every family, undeceive husbands, throw
lovers into despair, ruin wives, dishonour daughters, and raise a
thousand other hurly-burlys. Ah! Prince, I conjure you.----" "By the
light," said Mangogul, "you moralize like Nicole! I would be glad to
know why the concern for your neighbour touches you so to the quick.
No, no, madam; I will keep my ring. And what do I matter those husbands
undeceived, those lovers thrown into despair, those wives ruined, those
daughters dishonoured, provided I amuse myself. Am I then a Sultan
for nothing? Good night, madam, we must hope that future scenes will
be more comic than the first, and that you will take more pleasure in
them by degrees." "I do not believe it, sir," replied Mirzoza. "And
for my part, I promise you, that you will find pleasant Toys, nay, so
pleasant, that you cannot refuse giving them audience. And what would
you do, if I sent them to you in quality of ambassadors? I will if you
desire it, spare you the trouble of their harangues; but as to the
recital of their adventures, you shall hear it either from their own
mouths or mine. 'Tis a determined point; and I can abate nothing of it.
Resolve to familiarize yourself with these new speech-makers." At these
words he embraced her, and went into his closet, reflecting on the
trial he had made, and devoutly thanking the Genius Cucufa.



CHAP. VII.

_Second trial of the Ring._

The Altars.


The next evening there was to be a private supper in Mirzoza's
appartment. The persons invited came early. Before the prodigy of the
preceding day, people came by inclination; this night they came purely
out of politeness. All the ladies had an air of constraint, and spoke
in monosyllables. They were upon the watch, and expected every moment,
that some Toy would join in conversation. Notwithstanding their itch
of bringing Alcina's odd adventure on the carpet, none of them dared
to undertake opening the topic. Not that they were restrained by her
presence: tho' included in the supper-list, she did not appear; it
was judged that she had a swimming in her head. However, whether it
was that they became less apprehensive of danger, as the whole day
long they had heard no body speak but from the mouth; or whether they
affected to appear courageous, the conversation revived, the women most
suspected composed their countenances, put on an air of assurance, and
Mirzoza ask'd the courtier Zegris, if he knew any entertaining news.
"Madam," replied Zegris, "you have been informed of a match between
the Aga Chazour and young Siberina: I assure you it is broke off."
"Upon what account?" interrupted the favorite. "On account of a strange
voice," continued Zegris, "which Chazour says he heard at the toilet of
his princess. Since yesterday, the Sultan's court is full of people,
who go with their ears cock'd, in hopes of catching, I can't say how,
such declarations, as most certainly the persons concerned have no
inclination to make them."

"That is silly," replied the favorite. "Alcina's misfortune, if it be
one, is far from being averred. We have not got to the bottom----"

"Madam," interrupted Zelmaida, "I have heard her most distinctly. She
spoke without opening her mouth. The facts were well articulated, and
it was not very difficult to guess whence this extraordinary sound
issued. I assure you, that I should have died, were I in her place."

"Died!" replied Zegris. "Folks survive other sorts of accidents."
"How?" cried Zelmaida. "Can there be a more dreadful one than the
indiscretion of a Toy? Well, there is no medium left. One must either
renounce gallantry, or resolve to pass for a woman of pleasure."
"Indeed," said Mirzoza, "the option is severe." "No, no, madam,"
replied another lady, "you will see that women will fix their
resolution. They will allow Toys to prate as much as they please; and
will go their own way, without troubling themselves with what the world
shall say. And after all, what does it signify, whether it be a woman's
Toy or her lover that proves indiscreet? Are things less exposed?"

"Upon a serious consideration of the whole affair," continued a third,
"if a woman's adventures must be divulged, 'tis better it should happen
by her Toy than her lover."

"The notion is singular," said the favorite; "and true," replied she
who had broach'd it: "for, pray, observe that a lover is generally
dissatisfied, before he becomes indiscreet, and therefore tempted to
be revenged by exaggerating every thing: whereas a Toy talks without
passion, and adds nothing to the truth."

"For my part," said Zelmaida, "I am not of that opinion. In this case
it is not so much the importance of the depositions, as the strength of
the evidence, that ruins the criminal. A lover, who by his discourse
dishonours the Altar, on which he has sacrificed, is a kind of impious
person, who deserves no credit: but if the altar lifts up its voice,
what answer can be made."

"That the altar knows not what it says," replied the second. Monima,
hitherto mute, broke silence, in order to say in a dragging, lazy
tone: "Ah! let my Altar, since you call it so, speak or be silent, I
fear nothing from its talk."

Mangogul enter'd that very instant, and Monima's last words did not
escape him. He levell'd his Ring at her, and her Toy was heard to cry
out: "Do not believe her, she lies." Her female neighbours, gazing
at each other, ask'd whose Toy it was that made this answer. "'Tis
not mine," said Zelmaida; "nor mine," said another; "nor mine," said
Monima; "nor mine," said the Sultan. Every one, and the favorite among
the rest, persisted in the negative.

The Sultan, taking the advantage of this incertainty, and addressing
the ladies, said: "You have Altars then? Pray, how are they feasted?"
As he was speaking, he nimbly turn'd his Ring successively on all the
women except Mirzoza; and every one of their Toys answering in its
turn, these words were heard in different tones. "I am frequented,
batter'd, abandon'd, perfum'd, fatigu'd, ill serv'd, disgusted,
&c." They all spoke their word, but so precipitately, that no just
application could be made. Their jargon, sometimes rumbling, sometimes
yelping, accompanied with loud laughs of Mangogul and his courtiers,
made a noise of a new kind. The ladies agreed with a very grave air,
that it was very diverting. "How," said the Sultan, "sure we are too
happy, that the Toys deign to speak our language, and furnish half the
expence of the conversation. Society must be a considerable gainer by
this duplication of organs. Possibly we men shall speak also in our
turn, by something else besides our mouths. Who knows? What agrees so
perfectly well with Toys, may happen to be destin'd to make questions
and responses to them: nevertheless my anatomist is of a different
opinion."



CHAP. VIII.

_Third trial of the Ring._

The Private Supper.


Supper was served up, the company sate down at table, and at first
they diverted themselves at Monima's charge: all the women unanimously
agreed that her Toy had spoke first; and she must have sunk under this
confederacy, had not the Sultan taken her part. "I do not pretend,"
said he, "that Monima is less gallant than Zelmaida; but I believe her
Toy has more discretion. Besides, when the mouth and Toy of a woman
contradict each other, which to believe?" "Sir," replied a courtier,
"I know not what Toys will say hereafter; but hitherto they have
explain'd themselves on a subject, which is very familiar to them. As
long as they shall have the prudence to speak of nothing but what they
understand, I shall believe them as so many oracles." "Others," said
Mirzoza, "of greater authenticity might be consulted." "Pray, madam,"
replied Mangogul, "what interest can these have in disguising the
truth? Nothing but a chimæra of honour could be their motive: but a
Toy has none of these chimæras. That is not the place of prejudices."
"A chimera of honour," said Mirzoza, "prejudices! If your highness
had been exposed to the same inconveniences with us, you would become
sensible, that whatever touches virtue, is far from being chimærical."
All the ladies, encouraged by the Sultana's answer, insisted that it
was superfluous to put them to certain proofs; and Mangogul, that these
proofs were generally dangerous at least.

This conversation ushered in the champagne: it moved briskly round,
they plied it close, and it warmed the Toys. Then it was that Mangogul
had intended to resume his frolicks. He turn'd his ring on a very gay
sprightly young lady, who sate pretty near him, and directly opposite
to her husband: and immediately issued from under the table a plaintive
noise, a weak languishing voice, which said: "Oh, how I am harrassed! I
can bear it no longer, I am at death's door." "How, by the Pagoda Pongo
Sabiam," cried Husseim, "my wife's Toy speaks, and what can it say?"
"We are going to hear," answered the Sultan.----"Prince, you will
permit me not to be of the number of its auditors," replied Husseim;
"for if any thing ridiculous drop'd from it, do you think?"----"I think
you are a fool," said the Sultan, "to alarm yourself at the prattle of
a Toy: do we not know a good part of what it can say, and may we not
guess the rest? Sit down, then, and endeavour to divert yourself."

Husseim sat down, and his wife's Toy began to prate like a magpye.
"Shall I eternally have this huge Flandrian Valanto? I have seen some
who have made an end; but this man"----At these words Husseim arose in
a fury, snatch'd up a knife, sprang to the other side of the table;
and would have pierced his wife's breast, if his neighbours had not
prevented him. "Husseim," said the Sultan, "you make too much noise:
the company cannot hear. Might not one say, that your wife's Toy is
the only one that has not common sense? And what would become of these
ladies, if their husbands were of your humour? How! you are out of your
wits for a pitiful little adventure of one Valanto, who never made an
end. Return to your seat, behave like a man of honour; see that you
watch yourself, and not commit a second failure before a prince, who
admits you to his pleasures."

While Husseim, stifling his rage, was leaning on the back of a chair,
his eyes shut, and his hand on his forehead; the Sultan dexterously
levell'd his Ring, and the Toy went on. "Valanto's young page would
suit me pretty well: but I know not when he will begin. In the mean
time till the one begins, and the other makes an end, I practise
patience with the Bramin Egon. He is a frightful figure, I must own:
but his talent is to make an end and begin again. Oh, what a great man
a Bramin is!"

By the time the Toy had got as far as this exclamation, Husseim blush'd
to fret for a woman who was so unworthy, and fell a laughing with the
rest of the company; but he kept something in reserve for his spouse.
The entertainment being over, every one went home directly, except
Husseim, who conducted his wife into a house of veiled maidens, and
there shut her up. Mangogul being inform'd of her disgrace paid her a
visit. He found the whole community busy in comforting her, but still
more in trying to get the secret of her exile from her. "'Tis for a
mere trifle," said she, "that I am here. Being last night at supper
with the Sultan, the Champagne was whip'd about, the Tokay gallop'd,
people hardly knew what they said, when my Toy must needs fall to
prating. I do not remember on what subject it talk'd, but it made my
husband take dudgeon."

"To be sure, Madam, he is in the wrong," replied the nuns: "people
ought not to put themselves into such passions for trifles!----How!
your Toy has spoke. Pray does it speak still? How charm'd we should
be to hear it! It must certainly express itself with wit and a good
grace." They were gratified: for the Sultan turn'd his ring on the poor
recluse, and her Toy thank'd them for their civilities; protesting
to them at the same time, that how pleased soever it was with their
company, that of a Bramin would suit it better.

The Sultan embraced the opportunity, to learn some particulars of
the life of these virgins. His Ring interrogated the Toy of a young
recluse, whose name was Cleanthis; and the pretended virgin-Toy
confessed two gardeners, a Bramin, and three cavaliers; and related
how by the assistance of a purging draught and two bleedings, she had
escaped giving scandal. Zephirina owned, by the organ of her Toy, that
she was indebted to the errand-boy of the house, for the honourable
title of mother. But one thing that astonish'd the Sultan, was, that
tho' those sequester'd Toys expressed themselves in very indecent
terms; the virgins, to whom they belong'd, heard them without blushing:
which made him conjecture, that if they failed of the practical part in
those retreats, they had in return a large share of speculation.

In order to clear up this point, he turn'd his ring on a novice between
fifteen and sixteen years of age. "Flora," said her Toy, "has more
than once ogled a young officer thro' the grate. I am certain that she
had an inclination for him. Her little finger told me so." This was a
mortifying stroke for Flora. The ancient ladies condemned her to two
months silence and discipline; and ordered prayers, that the Toys of
the community might remain mute.



CHAP. IX.

_The state of the academy of sciences at Banza._


Mangogul had scarcely quitted the recluses, among whom I left him, when
a report was spread thro' Banza, that the virgins of the congregation
of Brama's Coccyx, spoke by their Toys. This report, to which Husseim's
violent proceedings had given credit, rouzed the curiosity of the
learned. The phænomenon was thoroughly examined and allowed: and the
freethinkers began to seek in the properties of matter, the reasons
of a fact, which they had at first deemed impossible. The tattle of
the Toys gave birth to a great number of excellent works; and this
important subject swell'd the collections of the academies with
several memoirs, which may be esteemed the utmost efforts of human
understanding.

In order to model and perpetuate that of Banza, invitations with
suitable encouragement had been, and still continued to be, given to
all persons of the brightest parts in Congo, Monoémugi, Beleguanza,
and the circumjacent kingdoms. It took in, under different titles,
all those who had distinguished themselves in natural history, natural
philosophy, mathematicks, and the greatest part of those, who promised
to make a figure in them one time or other. This swarm of indefatigable
bees labour'd incessantly in the research of truth, and every year
the public reaped the fruits of their labours in a volume full of
discoveries.

It was at that time divided into two factions, the one composed
of Vorticists, and the other of Attractionists. Olibrio, an able
geometrician and great natural philosopher, founded the sect of
the Vorticists. Circino, an able natural philosopher and great
geometrician, was the first Attractionist. Both Olibrio and Circino
proposed to explain nature. Olibrio's principles have at first sight a
certain air of simplicity, which seduces: in the gross they account
for the principal phænomena, but they contradict themselves in the
detail. As for Circino, he seems to set out upon an absurdity; but 'tis
the first step alone that is expensive. The minute details, which ruin
Olibrio's system, establish his. He follows a road, dark at entrance,
but which grows more lightsome according as a person advances. On
the contrary, that of Olibrio, lightsome at entrance, grows darker
and darker. The philosophy of the latter requires less study than
understanding. One cannot be a disciple of the former, without a large
share of understanding and study. One enters without preparation into
Olibrio's school; every body has the key of it. That of Circino is
open to none but geometricians of the first class. Olibrio's Vortices
are within the reach of all capacities. Circino's central powers are
made for first rate Algebraists only. Wherefore there will always be
an hundred Vorticists for one Attractionist; and one Attractionist
will always be worth an hundred Vorticists. Such was the state of
the academy of sciences at Banza, when it handled the subject of the
indiscreet Toys.

This phænomenon was very slippery: it dodged the attraction, and the
subtile matter could not come within reach of it. In vain did the
president summon all those who had any notions, to communicate them:
a profound silence reigned in the assembly. At length Persiflo the
Vorticist, who had published treatises on many subjects, which he did
not understand, rose up and said: "The fact, gentlemen, might well
agree with the system of the world. I should suspect that it has in
general the same cause with the tides. For pray take notice, that
this day is the equinoctial full moon. But before I can depend on my
conjecture, I must wait to hear what the Toys will say next month."

The company shrug'd their shoulders: they dared not remonstrate to
him, that he reasoned like a Toy; but as he is a man of penetration he
perceived in an instant that they thought as much.

The Attractionist Reciproco opened, and said: "Gentlemen, I have tables
calculated by a theory on the highth of the tides in every port of the
kingdom. True it is, that observations somewhat bely my calculations:
but I flatter myself that this small inconvenience will be repaired
by the advantage that will result from them, if the tattle of Toys
continues to square with the phænomena of the ebb and flow."

A third person started up, went to the board, traced his figure, and
said "let a Toy be A B, and----"

Here the ignorance of the translators has deprived us of a
demonstration, which without doubt the African author had preserv'd.
After a blank of about two pages, we read: Reciproco's reasoning was
thought demonstrative; and it was unanimously agreed, from the essays
he had given on dialectics, that he would be able one day or other to
make this deduction: women have from time immemorial heard with their
ears: therefore they ought at this day to speak by their Toys.

Doctor Orcotomus, of the tribe of Anatomists, spoke next, and said:
"Gentlemen, I am of opinion, that it would be properer to drop a
phænomenon, than to seek its cause in vapory hypotheses. For my
part, I would not have open'd my mouth, if I had nought but trifling
conjectures to offer: but I have examined, studied, meditated. I
have seen Toys in the paroxysm, and I am got so far, by means of my
knowledge of the parts, and experience, as to be convinced, that that
which in Greek we call Delphys, has all the properties of the windpipe,
and that there are some who can speak as well by the Toy as by the
mouth. Yes, gentlemen, the Delphys is a string and wind instrument;
but much more a string than a wind one. The outward air, which lights
on it, properly does the office of a bow on the tendinous fibres of
the wings, which I shall call ribbons or vocal strings. The gentle
collision of this air and the vocal strings puts them into a trembling
motion; and it is by their quicker or slower vibrations, that they
utter different sounds. The person modifies these sounds at discretion,
speaks, and even might sing.

"As there are but two ribbons or vocal strings, and as they are to
the eye of equal length, it will doubtless be ask'd, how they suffice
to give the multitude of sounds, grave and acute, strong and weak, of
which the human voice is capable. I answer, in pursuing the comparison
of this organ with musical instruments, that their lengthening and
shortening are sufficient to produce these effects.

"That these parts are capable of distention and contraction, is
needless to be demonstrated in an assembly of Literati of your rank:
but that in consequence of this distention and contraction, the Delphys
can utter sounds more or less acute; in a word, all the inflexions of
the voice, and modulation of singing; is a fact, which I flatter myself
I shall put out of doubt. My appeal is to experiments. Yes, gentlemen,
I engage to make both a Delphys and a Toy reason, speak, nay, and sing
too, before ye."

Thus harangued Orcotomus, promising to himself nothing less than to
raise the Toys to the level of the windpipes of one of his learned
brethren, whose success jealousy had attack'd in vain.



CHAP. X.

_Less learned and less tedious than the preceding. Continuation of the
academical sitting._


By the difficulties started against Orcotomus, before he could make
his experiments, it appeared, that his notions were judged to have
less of solidity than ingenuity. "If Toys have the faculty of speech
naturally," say they, "why have they not made use of it till now? If
it was an effect of the goodness of Brama, who has been pleased to
endow women with so strong a desire of talking, to double the organs
of speech in them; it is very strange, that they have so long been
ignorant of, or at least neglected this valuable gift of nature. Why
has not the same Toy spoke more than once? Why has none of them spoke
of aught but the same subject? By what mechanism does it fall out,
that one of the mouths is forcibly kept shut, while the other speaks?
Moreover," added they, "if we judge of the prattle of Toys by the
circumstances, in which most of them have spoken, and by the things
they have told; there is all the reason in the world to believe it
involuntary, and that those parts would continue mute, if it had been
in the power of their possessors to impose silence on them."

Orcotomus arose to answer these objections, and insisted that Toys
talk'd in all ages; but so low, that what they said was hardly heard,
even by those to whom they belonged. That it is not surprizing,
that they have raised their voice in our days, when the freedom of
conversation is carried so high, that one may without impudence and
indiscretion converse on those things, which are the most familiar to
them: that if they have spoke audibly but once, we are not to infer
that that will be the only time. That there is a vast difference
between being mute and keeping silence; that if they have talk'd but on
one and the same subject only, probably the reason is, that it is the
only one, of which they have ideas. That those who have not spoke as
yet, will speak. That if they remain silent, it is because they have
nothing to say, or that they are ill made, or want ideas and terms.

"In a word," continued he, "to pretend that it was an effect of the
goodness of Brama to grant to women the means of gratifying their
strong desire of talking, by multiplying in them the organs of speech;
is to grant, that if this benefaction drag'd any inconveniences after
it, it was an effect of his wisdom to prevent them: and this he has
done, by compelling one of the mouths to keep silence, while the
other speaks. It is already but too inconvenient for us, that women
change their mind from one instant to another: what then would it have
been, if Brama had left them the power of being of two contradictory
sentiments at the same time? Further, the gift of speech has been
given, purely in order to be understood; but the women, who find it a
difficult talk to understand one another with a single mouth each, how
could they possibly do it, if they spoke with two at a time?"

Thus Orcotomus answered several things, and thought he had given
satisfactory solutions to all difficulties: but he was mistaken. New
doubts were raised, and he was on the point of sinking under them; when
Cimonazes came to his assistance. Then the dispute became tumultuous.
They stray'd wide of the question, they bewilder'd themselves, they
return'd, they bewilder'd themselves a second time, they grew angry,
they brawled; from brawling they pass'd to injurious words, and the
academical sitting ended.



CHAP. XI.

_Fourth trial of the Ring._

The Echo.


While the prattle of the Toys employed the academy, in other companies
it became the news of the day, and the subject of the morrow, and of
several succeeding days. It was an inexhaustible text. True facts were
blended with false; every thing went down, the prodigy had removed all
incredulity. In conversation people lived on it upwards of six months.

The Sultan had made but three trials of his ring; and yet, in a circle
of ladies who were allowed a stool at the Manimonbanda's, one of them
related a discourse held by the Toy of a president's lady, next that
of a marchioness, then she disclosed the pious secrets of a devotee,
in fine those of several women who were not there: and God knows the
stories that were father'd on their Toys; nor was there any parcimony
of smutty tales. From facts they came to reflections. "I must confess,"
says one of those ladies, "that this witchcraft (for it is a spell
cast on Toys) keeps us in a cruel state. How! to be eternally under
apprehensions of hearing an impertinent voice issuing from one's
self." "But madam," answered another, "this fright astonishes us with
regard to you. When a Toy has nothing ridiculous to tell, what does
it signify, whether it be silent or speak?" "It signifies so much,"
replied the first, "that I would freely give half my jewels, to be
assured that mine will never speak." "Surely," replied the second,
"there must be substantial reasons for keeping measures with people,
to purchase their discretion at so high a price." "I have not better
reasons than another," said Cephisa: "and yet I do not eat my words.
Twenty thousand crowns, is not too large a sum to buy tranquillity: for
I will frankly own, that I have not more confidence in my Toy than in
my mouth, and many silly things have slipt from me in my life. I hear
every day so many incredible adventures unveiled, attested, detailed
by Toys, that even retrenching three fourths, the remaining part is
sufficient to destroy a reputation. If mine should prove but half so
great a lyer as all those, I should be ruined. Was it not enough then
that our conduct was in the power of our Toys, without our reputation
being dependent on their discourses?" "For my part," answered Ismene
smartly, without entering into endless arguments, "I allow things to go
their own way. If it be Brama, that has given the faculty of speech to
Toys, as my Bramin has convinced me, he will not suffer them to lye. It
would be impious to assert the contrary. Wherefore my Toy may talk as
often and much as it will. But after all what will it say?"

Then was heard a hollow voice, which seemed to come out of the ground,
and answered by way of Echo: _Many things_. Ismene, not imagining
whence the answer proceeded, flew into a passion, attack'd her
neighbours, and increased the diversion of the company. The Sultan,
charmed with her mistake, quitted his minister, with whom he was in
conference in a corner, went to her, and said: "I am afraid, madam, you
have heretofore admitted some one of these ladies into your confidence,
and that their Toys are so malicious as to recollect histories, which
your own might have forgot."

At the same time, by moving his ring up and down with dexterity,
Mangogul caused a very singular dialogue between the lady and her
Toy. Ismene, who had always conducted her little affairs well enough,
and had never had a confidante, answer'd the Sultan, that all the
art of calumniators would be ineffectual. "_Perhaps,_" answer'd
the unknown voice. "How, perhaps," reply'd Ismene, piqued at this
injurious doubt, "what have I to fear from them?" "_Every thing, if
they knew as much as I._" "And what do you know?" "_Many things, I
tell you._" "Many things, that says much, but means nothing. Can you
tell any particulars?" "_Without doubt._" "And of what nature? Have
I been really in Love?" "_No._" "Have I had intrigues, adventures?"
"_Exactly._" "And with whom, pray? With Petits-maitres, military men,
senators?" "_No._" "Comedians?" "_No._" "You shall see, it was with my
pages, my footmen, my confessor, or my husband's chaplain." "_No._"
"Mr Impostor, you are at your wits end?" "_Not quite._" "Yet I can see
no other person, with whom one can possibly have adventures. Was it
before, was it after my marriage? Answer me then, impertinent." "_Ah,
madam, spare invectives, if you please. Compel not the best of your
friends to take some disagreeable steps._" "Speak, my dear, tell, tell
all. I value your services as little as I fear your indiscretion.
Explain your self: I not only give you full permission, but even
dare you to it." "_To what do you reduce me, Ismene?_" said the Toy,
breathing a deep sigh. "To render justice to vertue." "_Well then,
virtuous Ismene, have you quite forgot young Osmin, the sangiac Zegris,
your dancing master Alaziel, your music master Almoura?_" "Ah! what
horrid calumnies," cried Ismene. "I had a mother, who was too vigilant
to expose me to such irregularities: and my husband, were he here,
would testify that he found me just such as he could wish." "_Very
true,_" replied the Toy, "_thanks to the secret of your intimate friend
Alcina._"

"This is so extravagantly and so grossly ridiculous," said Ismene,
"that it deserves no refutation. I cannot say," continued she, "which
of these ladies Toys it is, that pretends to be so knowing in my
affairs: but it has related things, of which my own does not know a
syllable." "Madam," answered Cephisa, "I can assure you, that mine
has gone no farther than giving ear." The rest said as much, and they
sate down to play, without precisely knowing the interlocutor of the
conversation above related.



CHAP. XII.

_Fifth Trial of the Ring._

Play.


Most of the ladies who made the party with the Manimonbanda, play'd
with great eagerness; and it was not necessary to have Mangogul's
sagacity, to perceive it. The passion of gaming is one of those that
puts on the least disguise. It shews itself, whether in winning or
losing, by strong symptoms. "But whence proceeds this fury?" said he
within himself. "How can the ladies bear to pass whole nights round a
Pharaoh table, to tremble in expectation of an ace or a seven? This
phrensy injures their health and beauty, when they have any: without
reckoning the disorders into which I am sure it precipitates them. I
have a great desire," said he to Mirzoza in the ear, "to execute here a
thought just come into my head." "And what is this fine thought, which
you meditate?" said the favorite. "It is," answered Mangogul, "to turn
my ring on the most unbridled of these brelandiers, to interrogate her
Toy, and to transmit by that organ, a good advice to all those weak
husbands, who allow their wives to stake the honour and fortune of
their house on a card or a dye."

"I like this notion mightily," replied Mirzoza; "but know, Prince,
that the Manimonbanda has just now sworn by her Pagoda's, that she
would keep no more drawing-room nights, if ever she found herself again
exposed to the impudence of Engastrimuthes." "What have you said,
my soul's delight?" interrupted the Sultan. "I have," answered the
favorite, "made use of the name, which the modest Manimonbanda gives
to all those, whose Toys have the faculty of speech." "It is of the
invention of her stupid Bramin, who values himself upon knowing the
Greek, and being ignorant of the Congese language," replied the Sultan.
"However, with the Manimonbanda's leave, and that of her chaplain too,
I would desire to question Manilla's Toy; and it would be proper to
make the interrogatories here, for the edification of the neighbours."
"Prince," said Mirzoza, "if you take my word, you will spare the
Manimonbanda the uneasiness this proceeding must give her: which you
may do, without balking your own curiosity or mine. Why do you not go
to Manilla's house?" "I will go, since you advise," said Mangogul. "But
at what hour?" said the Sultana. "About midnight," answered the Sultan.
"At midnight she is at play," said the favorite. "I will put off my
visit then till two in the morning," replied Mangogul. "Prince, you
don't consider," rejoined the favorite: "'tis the most pleasant hour
of the four and twenty for female gamesters. If your highness will be
led by me, you will take Manilla in her first sleep, between seven and
eight."

Mangogul followed Mirzoza's advice, and visited Manilla about seven.
Her women were going to put her to bed. He judged by the sadness
predominant in her countenance, that she had play'd with bad luck. She
walk'd to and fro, stopp'd, lifted her eyes to heaven, stamp'd with her
foot, cover'd her eyes with her hands, and muttered somewhat, which
the Sultan could not understand. Her women, who were undressing her,
followed all these motions in panicks; and if they at length compassed
getting her into bed, it was not done without receiving harsh language
and something worse. Now Manilla is in bed, having made no other night
prayer, but some curses against a damned ace, which came seven times
successively to her loss. Scarcely had she closed her eyes, when
Mangogul levell'd his ring at her. Instantly her Toy exclaimed in a
sorrowful tone: "Now I am repiqued and capotted." The Sultan smiled to
hear that every thing about Manilla, even to her Toy, spoke gaming.
"No," continued the Toy, "I will never play against Abidul: he knows
nothing but tricking. Speak to me no more of Dares: with him one runs
the risq of some unlucky hits. Ismal is a pretty fair player, but every
body has him not that would. Mazulim was a treasure, before he fell
into the hands of Crissa. I don't know a more whimsical player than
Zulmis. Rica is less so; but the poor lad is run dry. What can one do
with Lazuli? The prettiest woman of Banza could not make him play high.
What a piddling player Mollius is! In truth, desolation has spread
among the gamesters: and e'er long we shall not know with whom to make
a party."

After this Jeremiad, the Toy fell to relating uncommon strokes, of
which it had been a witness; and excessively extoll'd the constancy and
resources of its mistress in bad luck. "Were it not for me," it said,
"Manilla would have ruin'd herself twenty times over. All the Sultan's
treasures would not have discharged the debts that I have paid. In one
match at breland she lost to a farmer of the revenue and an _abbé_,
above ten thousand ducats. She had nothing left but her jewels: but
her husband had so lately redeem'd them, that she dared not to venture
them. Nevertheless she took the cards, and had one of those seducing
hands, which fortune sends, when she is on the point of cutting your
throat. They urged her to speak. Manilla look'd at her cards, put her
hand into her purse, whence she was sure to pull nothing, return'd to
her cards, examined them again, but without determining. 'Does madam
stand it at last?' said the farmer. 'Yes; I stake,' said she,--'I
stake--I stake my Toy.' 'For what value?' replied Turcares. 'For a
hundred ducats,' said Manilla. The _abbé_ withdrew, esteeming the Toy
too high rated. Turcares declared at it: Manilla lost and paid.

"The silly vanity of possessing a titled Toy got the better of
Turcares. He offered to supply my mistress with play-money, on
condition that I should be subservient to his pleasures. The bargain
was struck in a moment. But as Manilla play'd high, and the farmer was
not inexhaustible, we soon saw the bottom of his coffers.

"My mistress had appointed a most brilliant party at Pharaoh. All her
acquaintance were invited. They were to punt with nothing under ducats.
We depended on the purse of Turcares. But the morning of this great
day, the rascal wrote us word that he had not a penny, and left us in
the utmost consternation. However, we must extricate ourselves, and
there was not a moment to be lost. We pitch'd on an old chief of the
Bramins, to whom we sold at a dear rate some complaisances, which he
had sollicited a long time. This sitting cost him double the income of
his ecclesiastical preferment.

"Turcares returned notwithstanding, in a few days. He said he was
excessively concerned that madam had taken him at a nonplus: he still
reckon'd on her goodness. 'Indeed you reckon ill, my dear,' replied
Manilla: 'I cannot with decency receive you more. When you were in a
condition to lend, the world knew why I admitted you: but now that you
are good for nothing, you would blast my honour.'

"Turcares was piqued at this discourse, and so was I: for he was
perhaps the best lad in Banza. He waved his usual politeness, and gave
Manilla to understand, that she cost him more than three opera girls,
who would have amused him better, 'Alas!' cried he most mournfully,
'why did I not stick to my little milliner? She loved me to folly. I
made her so happy with a silk gown.'----Manilla, who did not relish
comparisons, interrupted him in a tone, eno' to make one tremble, and
bade him begone in an instant. Turcares knew her, and chose rather to
return peaceably down stairs, than to leap thro' the window.

"After that, Manilla borrowed of another Bramin, who came, said she,
to administer comfort in her afflictions. The holy man succeeded the
farmer of the revenue, and we reimbursed him his comforts in the
same coin. She lost me several times more, and 'tis well known that
play-debts are the only ones that are paid among the _Beau Monde_.

"If Manilla happens to play with good luck, she is the most regular
woman in Congo. Excepting her play, she takes surprising care of her
conduct: she is never heard to swear an oath: she entertains well:
she pays her mercer and other tradesmen, is liberal to her servants,
redeems her nicknacks sometimes, and caresses her lap dog and her
husband: but thirty times a month she risks these happy dispositions
and her money on an ace of spades. Such is the life she leads, and will
lead: and God knows how many times yet I shall be pawn'd."

Here the Toy ceased, and Mangogul went to take repose. He was awaken'd
at five in the afternoon, and went to the opera, according to a promise
made to the favorite.



CHAP. XIII.

_Of the opera at Banza._

_Sixth trial of the Ring._


Of all the public diversions of Banza, none supported itself but the
opera. Utmiutsol and Utremifasolasiututut, two celebrated musicians,
one of whom was growing old, and the other was but just new-fledged,
alternately occupied the lyric scene. Each of these two original
authors had his partisans. The ignorant and the grey-bearded dotards
stood up for Utmiutsol; the smart young fellows and the Virtuosi were
for Utremifasolasiututut: and the people of taste, as well young as
old, held them both in high esteem. Utremifasolasiututut, said the
latter, is excellent when he is good, but he sleeps at times; and,
pray, to whom does not that happen? Utmiutsol holds up better, and is
more uniform. He is full of beauties; yet he has not one, of which
there are not examples to be found, and even more striking, in his
rival; in whom there are strokes to be observed, which are entirely
his own, and are not to be met with any where but in his works. Old
Utmiutsol is simple, natural, smooth, sometimes too smooth, and that is
his fault. Young Utremifasolasiututut is singular, brilliant, composed,
learned, sometimes too learned: but perhaps that is his hearer's
fault. The one has but one opening, beautiful indeed, but repeated at
the head of all his pieces. The other has made as many openings as
pieces, and they all pass for masterpieces. Nature guided Utmiutsol
in the ways of melody; study and experience discovered the sources
of harmony to Utremifasolasiututut. Who ever knew how to declaim, and
who will ever speak a part like the old man? Who will compose light
catches, voluptuous airs, and symphonies in character like the young
one? Utmiutsol is the only person who understood dialogue. Before
Utremifasolasiututut no body distinguished the delicate touches, which
separate the tender from the voluptuous, the voluptuous from the
passionate, the passionate from the lascivious. Nay some partisans of
the latter pretend, that if Utmiutsol's dialogue is superior to his,
this is not so much owing to the inequality of their talents, as to the
difference of the poets, whom they made use of. "Read, read," cried
they, "the scene of Dardanus, and you will be convinced, that if we
give good words to Utremifasolasiututut, Utmiutsol's charming scenes
will be revived." However that be, in my time, the whole town flock'd
to the tragedies of the latter, and people stifled one another at the
interludes of the former.

They were just then exhibiting in Banza an excellent piece of
Utremifasolasiututut, which would never have been represented but in
nightcaps, had not the favorite Sultana had the curiosity to see it.
And besides, the periodical indisposition of Toys favored the jealousy
of the fiddles, and made the principal actress flinch. She, who
supplied her place, had not so good a voice, but as she made amends by
her manner of acting, nothing hindered the Sultan and the favorite from
honouring the piece with their presence.

Mirzoza was already come, Mangogul comes, the curtain is raised,
they begin. Every thing went on marvellously well: Miss Chevalier had
effaced the memory of Miss le Maure, and they were at the fourth act,
when the Sultan bethought himself, in the middle of a chorus, which he
thought lasted too long, and had already cost the favorite two yawns,
to point his ring on all the singers. Never was there seen on the
stage so odd and comical a sight. Thirty women were struck dumb on a
sudden. Their mouths were wide open, and they kept the same theatrical
attitudes they held before. And at the same time their Toys made their
throats sore with the violence of singing, this a _Pont-neuf_, that a
_Vaudeville polisson_, another a very indecent parody, and all of them
extravagances relative to their characters. On one hand was heard, _oh
vraiment ma comere, oui_; on the other, _quoi douze fois?_ Here, _qui
me baise, est-ce Blaise?_ There, _rien, Pere Cyprien, ne vous retient_.
In fine, they all wound themselves up into a strain, so high, so rude,
and so mad, that they formed the most extravagant brawling ridiculous
choir, that had been heard before and since that of----no----d----on----

_Here the manuscript was worm-eaten._

All this while the Orchestra went on, and the loud laughs of the pit
and boxes joined to the sound of the instruments, and the singing of
the Toys, compleated the cacophony.

Some of the actresses, fearing lest their Toys, tired with quavering
impertinences, might resolve to speak them out, ran behind the scenes:
but they escaped with the fright only. Mangogul being perswaded that
the public would learn nothing new, turn'd off his ring. In an instant
all the Toys were silent, the bursts of laughter ceased, the audience
grew calm, the play was resumed and finished peaceably. The curtain
drop'd, the Sultana and Sultan went off, and the Toys of our actresses
went to their several appointments, where they were to have a different
employment from singing.

This affair made a great noise. The men laugh'd, the women were
alarmed, the Bonza's were scandalized, the academicians rack'd their
brains about it. But what did Orcotomus say? Orcotomus triumph'd. He
had hinted in one of his memoirs, that the Toys would infallibly sing:
they had sung accordingly, and this phænomenon, which disconcerted
his brethren, was to him a new ray of light, and compleated the
confirmation of his system.



CHAP. XIV.

_Orcotomus's experiments._


It was on the fifteenth of the moon of ----, that Orcotomus had read
his memoir to the academy, and communicated his thoughts on the tattle
of the Toys. As he then did with the greatest assurance promise to
produce infallible experiments, which he had repeated several times,
and always with success; the majority of people was struck with his
doctrine. For some time the public preserved the favorable impressions
they had received: and for full six weeks Orcotomus pass'd for having
made considerable discoveries.

Nothing was wanting to complete his triumph, but performing before
the academy the famous experiments, which he had preached so loudly.
The assembly that met on this occasion was extremely brilliant. The
ministers of state graced the meeting: the Sultan himself did not
disdain to be there, but invisible.

As Mangogul was a great Monologue maker, and the futility of the
conversations of his time had tainted him with the habitude of
soliloquy: "Either Orcotomus," said he, "must be an arrant quack,
or the Genius my protector, a great fool. If the academician, who
certainly is not a conjurer, can restore speech to dead Toys; the
Genius who protects me was in the wrong to make a compact, and sell his
soul to the devil, for the sake of communicating it to Toys full of
life."

Mangogul was puzzling himself with such reflections, when he found
himself in the middle of his academy. Orcotomus had for spectators,
as appears, all those in Banza, who were knowing in the subject of
Toys. In order to be satisfied with his audience, all he wanted was
to give them satisfaction: but the issue of his experiments proved
very unhappy. Orcotomus took up a Toy, put his mouth to it, blew into
it till he was out of breath, quieted it, returned, tried another:
for he had brought a variety of them with him, of all ages, sizes,
conditions and colours: but in vain did he blow; nothing was heard but
inarticulate sounds, vastly different from what he had promised.

Then ran a buzzing murmur thro' the company, which disconcerted him for
a moment: but he recovered himself, and alledged that such experiments
were not easy to be made before so great a number of people: and he
was right.

Mangogul got up in wrath, went away, and in the twinkling of an eye
was in the favorite Sultana's appartment. "Well, prince," said she
upon seeing him, "who has won the day, you or Orcotomus? For his
Toys have performed wonders to be sure." The Sultan took some turns
about the room without a word of answer. "But," resumed the favorite,
"your highness seems dissatisfied." "Oh! madam, the impudence of that
Orcotomus is not to be match'd. Pray, do not so much as mention him
from this moment--What will you say, O future generations, when you
shall be informed, that the great Mangogul allowed a hundred thousand
crowns in yearly pensions to such fellows; while gallant officers, who
with their blood had watered the laurels that surround his brow, were
reduced to twenty pound a year?----By Jove, the thought distracts me: I
shall be out of humor this month to come."

Here Mangogul broke off, and continued to walk about the room. He hung
down his head, marched to and fro, stop'd, and now and then stamp'd the
floor with his foot. He sat down a moment, rose up in a hurry, took his
leave of Mirzoza, forgot to kiss her, and retir'd to his own appartment.

The African author, who has immortalized himself by the history of the
high and marvellous exploits of Erguebzed and Mangogul, continues in
these words:

By Mangogul's ill humor it was thought, that he was on the point of
banishing all the learned out of his dominions. Far from it, the next
day he arose in a gay mood, performed his exercises at the riding-house
in the morning, in the evening supp'd with Mirzoza and some favorites,
under a magnificent tent in the gardens of the Seraglio, and never
appeared more disengaged from affairs of state.

The dissatisfied and the disaffected of Congo, and the newsmongers of
Banza, did not fail to spread their reports of this conduct. For what
do not people of this stamp find fault with? "Is this," said they in
the public walks and coffee-houses, "is this governing a state? To
spend the day in tilting, and the night at table." "Well, if I was
Sultan," cried a little Senator ruined by gaming, parted from his wife,
and whose children had the worst of education, "if I was Sultan, I
would make Congo a flourishing empire. I would be the terror of my
enemies, and the darling of my subjects. Within six months I would
reestablish the Police, the laws, the army and the navy in their full
vigour. I would have a hundred ships of the line. Our heaths should
soon be grub'd up, and our high-ways repair'd. I would abolish the
taxes, or at least reduce them to one half. As for pensions, gentlemen
of sublime wit, by my faith, ye should but just taste them with the
tip of your tongues. Good officers, Pongo Sabiam, good officers, old
soldiers, magistrates like us, who devote our labours and night studies
to dealing out justice to the people; these are the men on whom I would
shed my bounty."

"Gentlemen," said an old toothless politician, with greasy flat hair,
a coat worn out at elbows, and ragged ruffles, "have ye quite forgot
our great emperor Abdelmalek, of the Dynasty of the Abyssinians, who
reigned two thousand three hundred and eighty five years ago? Have
ye forgot how he caused two astronomers to be impaled, for an error
of three minutes in their prediction of an eclipse; and his first
physician and surgeon to be dissected alive, for having ordered him a
dose of manna at an improper time?"

"Moreover I ask you," continued another, "what are those idle Bramins
good for, that vermin who suck our blood, and grow fat on it. Would not
their immense overflowing riches better become honest folks like us."

From another quarter was heard: "Forty years ago, were the new cookery
and the liquors of Lorraine so much as known? Our rulers are plung'd
deep into luxury, which threatens approaching destruction to the
empire, a necessary consequence of the contempt of the Pagoda's and
dissolution of morals. At the time when people eat but coarse meats,
and drank but sherbet at Kanaglou's table; what regard would be paid to
the cut-paper ornaments, to Martin's varnishes, and to Rameau's music?
The opera girls were not more cruel then than at present, and were to
be had much cheaper. The prince, you see, spoils many good things. But
if I was Sultan----"

"If thou wert Sultan," answered in wrath an old officer, who had
escaped the dangers of the battle of Fontenoy, and had lost an arm
close to his prince in the fight of Laufelt; "thou wouldst commit
greater impertinences than thou now dealst out. Eh, friend, thou can'st
not govern thy tongue, and thou wouldst willingly rule an empire: thou
hast not sense to manage thy family, and thou pretendst to guide a
state. Respect the powers of the earth, and thank the Gods for having
given thee birth in the empire, and in the reign of a prince, whose
prudence instructs his ministers, and whose soldiery admire his valor;
who has made himself dreaded by his enemies, and beloved by his people;
and whose only fault is the lenity with which persons of thy stamp are
treated under his government."



CHAP. XV.

_The Bramins._


After the learned had spent themselves on the Toys, the Bramins took
possession of them. Religion laid claim to their chit-chat, as a
subject that came within its jurisdiction, and its ministers pretended
that the hand of Brama manifested itself in that work.

There was held a general assembly of Pontiffs, and a resolution was
taken to employ the best pens to prove in form, that the thing was
supernatural, and that, till their works could be published, it should
be defended by way of theses in the schools, in private conversations,
in the direction of consciences, and in public harangues.

Now, altho' they unanimously agreed that the thing was supernatural;
yet as the people of Congo admitted two principles, and professed a
sort of Manicheism, they were divided in opinion, to which of these two
principles the chit-chat of the Toys ought to be attributed.

Those who had seldom or never been out of their cells, and had turned
over nothing but their books, ascribed the prodigy to Brama. "There is
none but he," said they, "that can interrupt the course of nature; and
time will shew, that in all this he has most profound views."

Those on the contrary, who frequented the toilets, and were oftner
surprized at bed-sides than in their closets, fearing lest some
indiscreet Toy or other might unveil their hypocrisy, laid their
prattle to the charge of Cadabra, a mischief-making deity, and a sworn
enemy to Brama and his servants. This latter system was exposed to
terrible objections, and had not so direct a tendency towards the
reformation of morals. Nay, its defenders did not impose on themselves
about it. But the business was, to screen themselves: and in order to
compass that, religion had not a single minister, who would not have
sacrificed the Pagodas and their Altars a hundred times over.

Mangogul and Mirzoza assisted regularly at the religious service of
Brama, and the whole empire was informed thereof by the news-papers.
On a certain day appointed for celebrating one of the principal
solemnities in the great Mosq, they were present. The Bramin, whose
turn it was to explain the law, mounted the rostrum, pour'd forth a
volley of affected phrases and fulsome compliments on the Sultan and
his favorite; and made an eloquent peroration on the manner of sitting
orthodoxly in company. He had already demonstrated the necessity
thereof by numberless authorities, when being instantaneously seized
with a fit of sacred enthusiasm, he spoke this declamation, which had
the greater effect, as it came in quite unexpected.

"What do I hear in all assemblies? a confused murmur, an unheard noise
strikes my ears. All things are turn'd topsy-turvy, and the faculty
of speech, which the goodness of Brama had hitherto appropriated
to the tongue, is now by an effect of his vengeance transported to
other organs. And what organs? You know, gentlemen. O ungrateful
people, was there a necessity for a new prodigy, to rouze ye from
your lethargy; and had not your crimes witnesses enough, but their
principal instruments must raise their voice? Doubtless their measure
is filled up; since the wrath of heaven has sought new chastisements.
In vain did you envelop yourself in darkness, in vain did you choose
mute accomplices: do you not hear them at present? They have given
depositions against ye from every quarter, and revealed your baseness
to the universe. O thou who governest by thy wisdom! O Brama! just are
thy judgments. Thy law condemns theft, perjury, lying and adultery:
it proscribes the blackness of calumny, the intrigues of ambition,
the fury of hatred, and the artifices of insincerity. Thy faithful
ministers have not ceased declaring these truths to thy children, and
threatening them with the chastisements, which thou in thy just anger
reservedst for prevaricators: but in vain; the fools have delivered
themselves up to the tide of their passions, they followed the torrent,
they have despised our admonitions, they have laughed at our threats,
they have regarded our anathema's as empty noise; their vices are
accumulated, strengthen'd, multiplied; the voice of their impiety has
ascended even to thy throne, and we have not been able to prevent the
tremendous scourge, with which thou hast smote them. After having long
implored thy mercy, let us now extoll thy justice. Overwhelmed by thy
strokes, doubtless they will return to thee, and acknowledge the hand
which is laid heavy on them. But O prodigy of hardheartedness! O excess
of blindness! They have imputed the effect of thy power to the blind
mechanism of nature. They have said in their hearts, Brama is not. All
the properties of matter are not known to us, and the new proof of its
existence is but a proof of the ignorance and credulity of those, who
object it to us. On this foundation they have raised systems, invented
hypotheses, tried experiments: but from the highth of his eternal
habitation, Brama has laugh'd at their vain projects. He has confounded
audacious knowledge, and the Toys have broke, as glass, the impotent
obstacles opposed to their loquacity. Wherefore let those vainglorious
worms confess the weakness of their reason, and the vanity of their
efforts. Let them cease to deny the existence of Brama, or to prescribe
limits to his power. Brama is, he is almighty, and he does not shew
himself to us more visibly in his dreadful scourges, than in his
ineffable favours.

"But who has drawn down these scourges on this wretched country? Is it
not thy injustice, greedy incredulous man? Thy gallantries and silly
amours, worldly immodest woman! Thy excesses and shameful debaucheries,
infamous man of pleasure! Thy hardheartedness for our monasteries,
miser! Thy injustice, corrupt magistrate! Thy usuries, insatiable
money-dealer! Thy effeminacy and irreligion, impious and sycophant
courtier.

"And you, on whom this scourge is particularly fallen, women and
maidens plunged into licentiousness; tho' we, renouncing the duties
of our calling, should keep profound silence with regard to your
irregularities, you carry about you a more importunate voice than ours:
it accompanies you, and will every where rebuke you for your impure
desires, your equivocal connections, your criminal conversations, such
excessive care to please, so many artifices to engage, so much address
to fix, and the impetuosity of your transports, and the fury of your
jealousy. Why then do you delay to shake off the yoke of Cadabra, and
return under the mild laws of Brama? But let us return to our subject.
Well then I was saying that worldlings sit down heretically, and that
for nine reasons; the first, &c."

This discourse made very different impressions. Mangogul and the
Sultana, who were the only persons that knew the secret of the ring,
were convinced that the Bramin had as happily hit off the tattle
of Toys by the assistance of religion, as Orcotomus by the light
of reason. The court ladies and petits-maitres declared the sermon
seditious, and the preacher a visionary. The rest of the audience
esteem'd him a prophet, shed tears, fell to prayers, and even
flagellations, and did not change their courses of life.

The noise of this sermon spread to the very coffee-houses. A
wit pronounced in a decisive tone, that the Bramin had but very
superficially handled the subject, and that his discourse was but a
cold insipid declamation: but in the opinion of the devout women and
the enlightened, it was the most solid piece of eloquence that had been
delivered in the temples these hundred years. And in mine, both the
wit and the devout women were in the right.



CHAP. XVI.

_The Muzzles._


While the Bramins were making Brama speak, airing their Pagoda's by
processions, and exhorting the people to repentance; others were
thinking how to reap benefit by the prattle of Toys.

Great cities swarm with persons, whom misery renders industrious.--They
neither rob nor pick pockets: but they are to pick-pockets, what
pick-pockets are to gamblers. They know every thing, they do every
thing. They go up and down, they insinuate themselves. They are found
at court, in the city, at Westminster hall, at church, at the play, at
ladies toilets, in coffee-houses, at balls, opera's and in academies.
They are any thing that you would have them be. Do you sollicit a
pension, they have the minister's ear. Have you a law-suit, they will
sollicite for you. Do you love gaming, they will make a party with you;
good chear, they keep a good kitchen; women, they will introduce you
to Amina or Acaris. From which of the two would you please to purchase
the distemper? Take your choice, they will undertake your cure. Their
chief occupation is to find the ridicules of private persons, and to
make advantage of the follies of the public. From them it is, that
papers are distributed in the streets, at the gates of temples, at the
play-house doors, and other public places, by which you are advertised
gratis, that such an one living at the Louvre, St. John's, the temple,
or the abby, at such a sign, dupes mankind at home from nine in the
morning to noon, and abroad the rest of the day.

Scarce had the Toys began to speak, when one of these sharpers
fill'd the houses of Banza with a printed bill of this form and
tenor.----Advertisement to the ladies. And underneath in small
Italic, by permission of my lord the great Seneschal, and with the
approbation of the gentlemen of the royal academy of sciences. And
lower down: The Sieur Eolipila of the royal academy of Banza, Member
of the royal society of Monoémugi, of the imperial academy of Biafara,
of the academy of the curious of Loango, of the society of Camur in
Monomotapa, of the institute of Ereeco, and of the royal academies
of Beleguanza and Angola; who has for many years given courses of
baubles, with the applause of the court, the town, and the province;
has, in favour of the fair sex, invented muzzles or portable gags,
which deprive Toys of the use of speech, without obstructing their
natural functions. They are neat and convenient. He has some of all
sizes, of all prices, and for all ages: and he has had the honour to
serve persons of the highest distinction with them.

There is nothing like being a member of a body of men. Be a work ever
so ridiculous, it is puff'd into success. Thus it was, that Eolipila's
invention gain'd ground. People flock'd to his house. The gay ladies
went thither in their own equipages, prudent women in hackney-coaches;
the devouts sent their confessors or footmen, and nuns their
door-keepers. Every body must have a muzzle, so that not one from the
dutchess down to the cobler's Joan, but had one either for the fashion
or for reasons.

The Bramins, who had declared the prattle of Toys to be a divine
punishment, and flatter'd themselves with a reformation of manners and
other advantages from it, could not without horror see a machine, which
eluded the vengeance of heaven and their hopes. Scarcely had they come
down from their pulpits, but they mount again, thunder, roar, make the
oracles to speak, and pronounce that a muzzle is an infernal machine,
and that there is no salvation for those who shall use them. "Carnal
women, quit your muzzles; submit," cried they, "to the will of Brama.
Permit the voice of your Toys to awaken that of your consciences, and
blush not to acknowledge crimes, which you have not been ashamed to
commit."

But their exclamations were of little avail: the same fate attended
muzzles, that had formerly attended the gowns without sleeves. The
preachers were left to catch cold in the temples. All the women took
gags, and quitted them not, either till they found them useless, or
were tired of them.



CHAP. XVII.

_The two Devouts._


For some days past the Sultan left the Toys at rest. Important affairs,
on which he was busy, suspended the effects of his ring. In this
interval it was, that two women of Banza made diversion for the whole
town.

They were professed devouts. They had managed their intrigues with
all possible discretion, and were in full enjoyment of a reputation,
which even the malice of those of their own class paid respect to. In
the mosques nothing was talk'd of but their virtue. Mothers proposed
them as patterns to their daughters, and husbands to their wives.
The principal maxim of both was, that scandal is the greatest of all
sins. This conformity of sentiments, but above all, the difficulty of
edifying a clear-sighted and crafty neighbour at an easy expence, had
got the better of the difference of their tempers, and they were very
good friends.

Zelida received Sophia's Bramin: and it was at Sophia's house that
Zelida confer'd with her director; and by a little self-examination,
the one could hardly be ignorant of what concerned the other's Toy:
but the whimsical indiscretion of these Toys kept them both in cruel
apprehensions. They held themselves as on the point of being unmask'd,
and of losing that reputation of virtue, which had cost them fifteen
years dissimulation and management, and which now embarassed them very
much.

At some moments they would even forfeit their lives, especially Zelida,
to be as much blasted as the greatest part of their acquaintance.
"What will the world say? What will my husband do?----What! that woman
so reserved, so modest, so virtuous, that Zelida, like others, is
but----Alas! this thought distracts me!----Yes, I wish I never had any
reputation," cried Zelida in a passion.

She was then with her female friend, who was making the same
reflections, but without such violent commotion. Zelida's last words
made her smile. "Laugh, madam, without constraint. Burst out," said
Zelida, touched to the quick. "To be sure you have good cause." "I
am as sensible of the impending danger, as you can be," answered
Sophia, with an air of indifference; "but how to shun it? For you will
agree with me, that there is no likelyhood that your wish will be
accomplish'd."

"Contrive an expedient then," replied Zelida: "Oh!" said Sophia, "I am
tired of rummaging my brain, I can find none.----To bury one's self in
a country seat, is one way; but to abandon the pleasures of Banza, and
renounce life, is what I will never do. I perceive that my Toy will
never approve it." "What is to be done then?" "What! to leave all to
providence, and laugh, as I do, at what the world will say. I have
tried all shifts to reconcile reputation with pleasures: but since it
is decreed that we must renounce reputation, let us at least preserve
pleasures. We were uniques: but now, my dear, we shall be like a
hundred thousand others; do you look on this as a hard fate?"

"Yes, without doubt," replied Zelida; "to me it seems hard to be like
those, for whom I had put on a sovereign contempt. In order to avoid
this mortification, methinks I would fly to the world's end."

"Set out, my dear," continued Sophia; "for my part, I stay--But _à
propos_, I advise you to furnish yourself with some secret, to prevent
your Toy from blabbing on the road."

"Indeed," replied Zelida, "pleasantry here has a very ill grace, and
your intrepidity----"

"You are mistaken, Zelida, there is not a grain of intrepidity in my
proceeding. To let things go their own way, when we cannot stop them,
is resignation. I see that I am to be dishonoured: well then, dishonour
for dishonour, I shall spare myself as much of the uneasiness as I can."

"Dishonour'd!" replied Zelida, bursting into tears. "Dishonour'd! What
a shock! I cannot bear it.--Oh! accursed Bonza, 'tis thou that hast
ruin'd me. I loved my husband, I was born virtuous; I should have loved
him still, if thou hadst not made a wicked use of thy ministry and my
confidence. Dishonour'd, dear Sophia!----"

She had not power to make an end. Sobs intercepted her words, and she
fell on the carpet, quite in despair. As soon as Zelida recovered her
speech, she cried out in a lamentable tone: "Alas! my dear Sophia, I
shall die----I must die. No, I shall never survive my reputation."

"But Zelida, my dear Zelida, do not be in a hurry to die: perhaps,"
said Sophia----"No perhaps shall stop me, I must dye."----"But perhaps
one might"----"One might do nothing, I tell you"----"But speak, my
dear, what might one do?"----"Perhaps one might hinder a Toy from
talking." "Ah! Sophia, you endeavour to comfort me by false hopes,
you deceive me." "No, no, I do not deceive you; only hear me, instead
of distracting yourself like a mad creature. I have heard talk of
Frenicol, Eolipila, gags and muzzles." "Pray, what connexion is there
between Frenicol, Eolipila, muzzles, and the danger which threatens us?
What business has my Toyman here, and what is a muzzle?"

"It is this, my dear. A muzzle is a machine invented by Frenicol,
approved by the academy, and improved by Eolipila, who claims the
honour of the invention." "But pray, this machine invented by
Frenicol, approved by the academy, and improved by that silly fellow
Eolipila."----"Oh! you are of a vivacity that surpasses imagination.
Well then, this machine being applied to a Toy, renders it discreet in
spite of its teeth."----"Can this be true, my dear?" "It is so said."
"We must know it," replied Zelida, "and immediately too."

She rang, one of her women appeared, and she sent for Frenicol. "Why
not for Eolipila?" said Sophia. "Frenicol is less taken notice of,"
answered Zelida.

The Toyman came away with the messenger. "Ah! Frenicol, are you there,"
said Zelida, "you are welcome. Make haste, my friend, to extricate two
women out of cruel anxiety."--"What is the business, ladies? Would you
please to have some rare Toys?"--"No, we have two already, and we would
willingly"--"Part with them, I suppose. Pray, ladies, let me see them,
I will take them, or we will make an exchange."--"You are mistaken,
Mr. Frenicol, we have nothing to truck."--"Well, I understand you,
you have some ear-rings, which you would desire to lose, so as that
your husbands may find them in my shop."----"Not that neither; pray,
Sophia, inform him of the matter." "Frenicol," continued Sophia, "we
want two----What, don't you understand?" "No, madam: how would you
have me understand, when you say nothing?"----"'Tis," said Sophia,
"because when a woman is modest, it gives her pain to speak plain on
certain things." "But yet," replied Frenicol, "she must speak plain. I
am a Toyman, not a Conjuror."----"You must guess however."----"Faith,
ladies, the more I look on ye, the less I comprehend ye. When a lady
is young, rich, and pretty as you are, she is not reduced to artifice:
moreover, I declare sincerely, that I sell them no longer. I have left
the dealing in those baubles to young beginners in the trade."

Our devouts found the Toyman's mistake so ridiculous, that they both
burst out into a violent fit of laughter, which disconcerted him.
"Permit me, ladies, to make my bow, and withdraw. You might well have
spared yourselves the trouble of sending for me three miles off, to
divert yourselves at my cost." "Stop, stop, friend," said Zelida, still
laughing on. "That was not our intention. But by your misapprehending
us, such ridiculous notions came into your head."----"'Tis in your
power, ladies, to put juster into it. What is the business?" "Oh! Mr.
Frenicol, let me laugh at ease, before I answer you."

Zelida laugh'd till she panted for breath. The Toyman thought within
himself that she had the vapors, or was out of her senses, and had
patience. At length Zelida ceased.----"Well," said she, "the business
relates to our Toys, our own Toys, do you understand me, Mr. Frenicol?
To be sure you cannot be ignorant, that for some time past several Toys
have prattled like magpyes: now we would be very glad that ours would
not follow this bad example." "Ah! now I take it, that is to say,"
replied Frenicol, "that you want a muzzle each."----"Very right, you
have hit it off truly. I have been told that Mr. Frenicol was no fool."
"Madam, your goodness is very great. As to what you require, I have of
all sorts, I go this moment to bring you some."

Frenicol went accordingly: in the mean while Zelida embraced her
friend, and thank'd her for her expedient: and I, says the African
author, went to take a nap, waiting his return.



CHAP. XVIII.

_The Toyman's return._


The Toyman returned, and presented the ladies with two muzzles of the
best sort.----"Ah! mercy!" cried Zelida. "What enormous muzzles are
these! And who are the unhappy women, whom these will fit? This is an
ell long. Indeed, friend, you must certainly have taken measure by the
Sultan's mare."----"Yes," said Sophia indolently, after having measured
them with her fingers, "you are in the right; and there is but the
Sultan's mare and old Rimosa, for whom these can do."----"I protest,
ladies, that they are of the common size; and that Zelmaida, Zyrphila,
Amiana, and a hundred other ladies, have of the same sort." "That
is impossible," said Zelida.----"'Tis actually so however," replied
Frenicol: "but they all said the same thing as ye have: and as they
have, so may you undeceive yourselves by trying them on." "Mr. Frenicol
may say what he will; but he shall never perswade me that this will fit
me," said Zelida, "nor this me," said Sophia. "Let him shew us others,
if he has any."

Frenicol, who had often experienced that women are not to be converted
on that article, shew'd them muzzles for the age of thirteen. "Well,"
cried both at the same time, "these are such as we want." "I wish
they may prove so," whisper'd Frenicol aside. "How do you sell
them?" said Zelida. "But ten ducats a piece, madam."----"Ten ducats,
you forget yourself, Frenicol."----"Madam, that is the price in
conscience."----"You make us pay for the novelty."----"I protest,
ladies, 'tis but two sixpences for a shilling." "I must own they are
neatly made, but ten ducats are a great deal of money."----"I'll abate
nothing."----"We will go to Eolipila's."----"You may, ladies: but there
are workmen and workmen, muzzles and muzzles." Frenicol held firm, and
Zelida came to. She paid for the two muzzles, and the Toyman went back,
fully perswaded that they would be too little for them, and would soon
be returned on his hands for a fourth part of the price he received
for them. He was mistaken. Mangogul not happening to come within reach
of turning his ring on those two women, their Toys were not seized
with the humor of talking louder than ordinary; and happily for them:
for Zelida having tried her muzzle, found it too little by one half.
However, she did not part with it, fancying that it would be pretty
near as inconvenient to change it, as not to make use of it at all.

These circumstances came to light from one of her women, who told them
in confidence to her lover, who related them in confidence to others,
who spread them all over Banza under the seal of secresy. Nor was
Frenicol silent: the adventure of the devouts became public, and for
sometime afforded employment to the calumniators of Congo.

Zelida became inconsolable upon it. This woman, more to be pitied than
blamed, conceived an aversion for her Bramin, quitted her husband, and
shut herself up in a convent. As for Sophia, she threw off the mask,
despised censures, patch'd and painted, frequented public places, and
had adventures.



CHAP. XIX.

_Seventh trial of the Ring._

The stifled Toy.


Tho' the female cits of Banza doubted whether Toys of their rank would
be honoured with the gift of speech; yet they all furnish'd themselves
with muzzles. In Banza muzzles became as common, as a general court
mourning in this country.

Here the African author observes with astonishment, that neither the
lowness of the price, nor the commonness of muzzles put them out of
fashion in the Seraglio. "This once," says he, "utility got the
better of prejudice." So trite a reflection was not worth the pains
of repeating: but to me it seems as if it was the defect of all the
ancient authors of Congo, to fall into repetitions; whether they
thereby hoped to give a greater air of truth and facility to their
productions; or that they were far from having as much fecundity of
invention as their admirers ascribe to them.

However that be, one day Mangogul, walking in his gardens, attended
by his whole court, took the maggot to level his ring at Zelais.
She was handsome, and suspected of several adventures: yet her Toy
did no more than stammer, and utter'd only some few mangled words,
which had no meaning, and which the Blasters interpreted as they
thought fit.----"Pshuh!" says the Sultan, "here is a Toy that has a
vast impediment of speech. Most certainly there must be somewhat
that impedes its respiration." Wherefore he applied his ring more
intensely. The Toy made a second effort to speak; and in some measure
surmounting the obstacle, that stop'd its mouth, these words were heard
very distinctly. "Alas! alas!--I am--I am--I am stifled. I can no
more.--Alas! alas! I am stifled."

Immediately Zelais found herself going: she grew pale, her neck
swell'd, and she fell, with her eyes shut and mouth half open, between
the arms of those who stood around her.

Any where else Zelais would have been speedily relieved. 'Twas only
debarrassing her of her muzzle, and allowing her Toy a freedom of
respiration: but how to lend the helping hand in Mangogul's presence.
"Quick, quick, physicians," cried the Sultan, "Zelais is dying."

Some pages ran to the palace, and returned, with the doctors gravely
marching after them. Orcotomus was at their head. Some gave their
opinion for bleeding, others for the _kermes mineral_; but the
penetrating Orcotomus ordered Zelais to be carried to a neighbouring
closet, examined her, and cut the braces of her harness. This muzzled
Toy was one of those, which he boasted to have seen in the paroxysm.

However, the bloating was excessive, and Zelais would have continued to
suffer, had not the Sultan had pity on her condition. He turn'd off his
ring, the fluids return'd to their equilibrium. Zelais came to herself,
and Orcotomus assumed the honour of this miraculous cure.

Zelais's accident and her physician's indiscretion, made the muzzles
lose much of their credit. Orcotomus, without any regard to Eolipila's
interest, proposed to himself to raise his own fortune on the ruins of
the others; advertised himself as a patentee physician of Toys that
had caught cold: and some of his bills are to be seen at this day in
the by-streets. He began by getting money, and ended by falling into
contempt. The Sultan took pleasure in lowering the presumption of the
empiric. Did Orcotomus boast of silencing a Toy that had never utter'd
a word? Mangogul had the cruelty to make it speak. People went so far
as to remark, that any Toy that was tired of silence, need only have
two or three visits from Orcotomus. In a little time he was rank'd with
Eolipila in the class of quacks; and they will both continue therein,
until it shall please Brama to take them out.

Shame was preferred to the apoplexy. "The one kills," said the women,
"the other does not." Wherefore they renounced their muzzles; let their
Toys talk on; and no body died thereby.



CHAP. XX.

_Eighth trial of the Ring._

The Vapors.


There was a time, as we have seen, when the women dreaded the prating
of their Toys, were stifled, and died away; but another succeeded, when
they set themselves above this dread, threw away their muzzles, and had
nothing beyond the vapors.

The favorite, among her attendants, had a very singular young lady.
Her humour was charming, tho' uneven. She changed countenance ten
times a day; but whatever face she put on, was pleasing. Unique in her
melancholy, as well as in her gaiety, there slip'd from her, in her
most extravagant moments, things of exquisite sense; and in her fits of
sadness she uttered very diverting extravagances.

Mirzoza was so used to Callirhoe (for that is the name of this young
mad girl) that she could hardly be without her. One time that the
Sultan complain'd to the favorite of somewhat restless and cold, which
he remark'd in her; "Prince," said she, embarrassed at his reproach,
"without my three beasts, my nightingale, my lap-dog and Callirhoe, I
am good for nothing; and you see that I have not the last." "And why
is she not here?" said Mangogul. "I can't tell," answered Mirzoza;
"but I remember, that some months ago she told me, that if Mazul made
the campaign, she could not avoid having the vapors; and Mazul set out
yesterday." "I easily excuse her," said the Sultan: "for I look on her
vapors to be well grounded. But upon what account do a hundred other
women take it into their heads to be vapor'd, who have young husbands,
and besides take care to be well provided with lovers?" "Prince,"
answered a courtier, "'tis a fashionable disease. It is genteel in a
woman to have the vapors. Without a lover and the vapors, she knows
nothing of the world: and there is not a citizen's wife in Banza, who
does not affect to have them."

Mangogul smiled, and resolved to visit some of these vaporish women
immediately. He went directly to Salica's house, and found her in bed,
with her neck quite bare, her eyes flaming, and her hair dishevel'd;
and at her bed's side the little stammering hump-back'd physician
Farfadi, telling her stories: while she was stretching out, now one
arm, then another, yawning, sighing, putting her hand to her head,
and exclaiming bitterly: "Alas I can't bear it--throw the windows
open--give me air--I shall faint, I shall dye.----"

Mangogul took advantage of the moment that her affrighted women were
assisting Farfadi in lightening the bed-cloaths, to turn his ring on
her, and instantly these words were heard: "Oh! how tired I am of this
humor! behold, madam has taken into her noddle to have the vapors.
This farce will last eight days at least, and may I dye, if I know
the cause: for after Farfadi's efforts to ferret out this disease, I
think it is in the wrong to continue."--"Good," said the Sultan turning
off his ring, "I understand. This dame has the vapors in favor of her
physician. Let us try elsewhere."

He went from Salica's house to that of Arsinoe, which is not far
from it. On entering her chambers he heard loud bursts of laughter,
and advanced, thinking to find her in company: but she was alone;
and Mangogul was not much surprized. "A woman who gives herself
the vapors," says he, "gives them melancholy or merry, as is most
convenient." He turn'd his ring on her, and presently her Toy began
to laugh unmercifully. From these immoderate laughing fits it made a
sudden transition to ridiculous lamentations on the absence of Narces,
whom it advised as a friend to hasten his return; and continued to sob,
weep, groan, sigh, and be comfortless, as if it had buried all its
relations.

The Sultan, who could hardly refrain from laughing aloud at so
whimsical an affliction, turn'd off his ring and departed; leaving
Arsinoe and her Toy to lament at leisure, and inferring the falsity of
the proverb.



CHAP. XXI.

_Ninth Trial of the Ring._

Of Things lost and found.

_To serve as a Supplement to the learned Treatise of Pancirollus, and
to the Memoirs of the Academy of Inscriptions._


Mangogul returning to his palace, pondering on the ridiculous airs
which women give themselves, found himself, whether thro' absence of
mind, or some blunder of his ring, under the portico of the sumptuous
building, which Thelis has decorated with the rich spoils of her
lovers. He embraced the opportunity, to interrogate her Toy.

Thelis was the wife of the Emir Sambuco, whose ancestors had reign'd
in Guinea. Sambuco had acquired a high reputation in Congo, by five or
six signal victories, which he had gain'd over Erguebzed's enemies.
As he was not a less able negotiator than a great captain, he had
been employ'd in embassies of the greatest consequence, and executed
his high trust with superior talents. On his return from Loango he
saw Thelis, and was smitten. He was then upon the brink of fifty, and
Thelis was not above twenty-five. She was rather agreeable than a
beauty: the women said she was well enough, and the men thought her
charming. Powerful matches sought her; but whether she had already
fix'd her notions, or that there was too great a disproportion of
fortune between her and her admirers, they were all rejected. Sambuco
saw her, laid at her feet immense riches, a great name, laurels, and
titles inferior to none but those of sovereigns, and obtain'd her.

Thelis was, or appear'd virtuous for six whole weeks after her
marriage. But a Toy born voluptuous, seldom conquers itself; and a
quinquagenarian husband, tho' otherwise ever so great a hero, is a
madman, if he flatters himself with conquering such an enemy. Altho'
Thelis mix'd prudence with her conduct, her first adventures were
not unknown. This was sufficient for supposing afterwards, that she
had others undisclosed: and Mangogul, desirous of full information,
hastened to pass from the porch of her palace into her appartment.

It was then the middle of summer. The heat was excessive, and Thelis,
after dining, had thrown herself on a couch, in a back closet adorned
with glasses and paintings. She was a-sleep, her hand leaning on a
collection of Persian tales, which had lull'd her to repose.

Mangogul view'd her some time, allowed that she had charms, and
turn'd his ring on her. "I remember it as perfectly as if it had
been yesterday: nine proofs of love in four hours. Ah! what moments!
Zermounzaid is a divine man! He is not the old frozen Sambuco.--Dear
Zermounzaid, I had been ignorant of true pleasures, real good: you
alone made me sensible of them."

Mangogul, desirous of learning the particulars of Thelis's commerce
with Zermounzaid, which the Toy kept from him, by dwelling on what
affects a Toy the most feelingly, rubb'd the stone of his ring for
some time against his waistcoat, and levell'd it, quite sparkling
with light, at Thelis. Its influence soon reach'd her Toy, which being
thereby better informed of what was required of it, re-assumed its
discourse in a more historical strain.

"Sambuco commanded the Monoémugian army, and I followed him to the
field. Zermounzaid served under him in quality of a colonel, and the
general, who honoured him with his confidence, had put us under his
escort. The zealous Zermounzaid did not abandon his post: he thought it
too pleasing, to resign it: and the danger of losing it was the only
one he fear'd during the whole campaign.

"While we were in winter quarters, I entertained a few new guests;
Cacil, Jekia, Almamoun, Jasub, Selim, Manzora, Nereskim, all military
men, who were commended by Zermounzaid, but were inferior to him.
The credulous Sambuco relied for his wife's virtue on herself, and
on Zermounzaid's care: and being entirely taken up with the immense
business of the war, and the great operations which he was meditating
for the glory of Congo, he never had the least suspicion either of the
treachery of Zermounzaid, or the infidelity of Thelis.

"The war continued; the armies took the field, and we our litters. As
they went a very slow pace, the main body of the army gain'd ground of
us, and we found ourselves in the rear, which Zermounzaid commanded.
This gallant youth, whom the sight of the greatest dangers had never
made to swerve a foot from the path of glory, could not resist that
of pleasure. He entrusted a subaltern with the care of watching the
motions of the enemy, who harrassed us; and got up into our litter:
but he was hardly there, when we heard a confused noise of arms and
outcries. Zermounzaid, leaving his business half done, attempts to jump
out: but he is level'd with the ground, and we become a prey to the
conqueror.

"Thus I began by swallowing up the honor and services of an officer,
who from his valour and merit might have expected the highest military
employments, if he had never known his general's wife. Upwards of
three thousand men fell in this action; and therefore of so many good
subjects have we robb'd the nation."

Let any one, if he can, imagine Mangogul's surprize at this discourse.
He had heard Zermounzaid's funeral oration, and did not know him by
these features. His father Erguebzed had regretted this officer:
the news-papers, after lavishing the highest eulogies on his fine
retreat, had attributed his defeat and death to the enemy's superior
numbers, which, as they said, were found to be six to one. All
Congo had lamented a man, who had done his duty so well. His wife
obtain'd a pension: his regiment was given to his eldest son, and an
ecclesiastical preferment promised to his younger.

"What horror!" cried Mangogul, but softly. "A husband dishonor'd, the
state betray'd, subjects sacrificed, crimes not only concealed, but
even rewarded as virtues: and all that for a Toy."

Thelis's Toy, which had stopt to take breath, continued: "Thus am
I abandoned to the enemy's discretion. A regiment of dragoons was
ready to fall upon us. Thelis seem'd quite frighted, and yet wish'd
nothing more ardently: but the charms of the prey sowed discord among
the plunderers. The scimiters were drawn, and thirty or forty men
were massacred in the twinkling of an eye. The noise of this disorder
reach'd the general officer. He ran thither, calmed the furious
soldiers, and sequestrated us under a tent; where we had not time
to know ourselves, when he came and demanded the price of his good
services. 'Woe to the vanquished,' cried Thelis, falling backward on a
bed: and the whole night was spent in feeling her misfortune.

"The next day we found ourselves on the banks of the Niger. A saick
was waiting for us, and my mistress and I set out, in order to be
presented to the emperor of Benin. In this twenty-four hours voyage the
captain of the vessel offer'd himself to Thelis, and was accepted: and
I found by experience, that the sea service is infinitely brisker than
the land service.

"We saw the emperor of Benin. He was young, ardent, voluptuous. Thelis
made a conquest of him: but those of her husband affrighted the
monarch. He demanded peace: and the price, at which he purchased it,
was but three provinces and my ransom.

"Different times, different fatigues. Sambuco came to know, I can't
tell how, the reason of the misfortunes of the preceding campaign; and
during this, he deposited me with a friend of his, a chief of the
Bramins, on the frontiers. The holy man made but a weak defence: he was
ensnared by the wiles of Thelis, and in less than six months devoured
his immense income, three lakes and two forests."

"Mercy," cried Mangogul, "three lakes and two forests! What an appetite
for a Toy!"

"'Tis a mere trifle," resumed the Toy. "Peace was made, and Thelis
accompanied her husband in his embassy to Monomotapa. She gamed, and
very fairly lost a hundred thousand sequins in one day, which I won
back again in an hour. A minister, whose master's affairs did not fill
up all his time, fell into my clutches; and in three or four months
I eat him up a fine landed estate, together with his castle well
furnish'd, a park, and equipage, with the little pyed horses. A favor
of four minutes duration, but well spun out, brought us in feasts,
presents and jewels: and the blind or politic Sambuco did not disturb
us.

"I shall not bring into the accompt," added the Toy, "the marquisats,
counties, titles, coats of arms, &c. which have been eclipsed at my
appearance. Apply to my secretary, who will tell you what is become of
them. I have close-pared the horns of the dominions of Biafara, and
am in possession of an entire province of Beleguanza. Erguebzed made
overtures to me a little before his death." At these words Mangogul
turn'd off his ring, and silenced this gulph: he respected his father's
memory, and would hear nothing that might tarnish the splendor of the
great qualities, which he knew were in him.

Returning to the seraglio, he entertained the favorite with the
vapored ladies, and with the trial of his ring on Thelis. "You admit
this woman," said he, "to your familiarity: but in all probability
you do not know her as well as I." "I understand you, sir," answered
the Sultana. "Her Toy has perhaps been foolish enough to give you
a narrative of her adventures with the general Micokof, the Emir
Feridour, the senator Marsupha, and the great Bramin Ramanadanutio.
But pray, who is ignorant, that she keeps young Alamir, and that old
Sambuco, who speaks not a word, is as well apprized of it as you."

"You have not hit the mark," replied Mangogul. "I have compell'd
her Toy to make a full discharge." "Had it swallowed any thing of
yours," said Mirzoza. "No," said the Sultan, "but much belonging to my
subjects, to the grandees of my empire, to the neighbouring potentates;
as estates, provinces, castles, lakes, forests, diamonds, equipages,
with the little pyed horses." "Without reckoning their reputation and
virtue, sir," added Mirzoza. "I cannot tell what benefit you will reap
by your ring; but the more you try it, the more odious my sex becomes
to me: even those, whom I thought I justly held in some esteem, are not
expected. They have thrown me me into such an humor, that I beg your
highness will allow me to indulge it alone for some moments." Mangogul,
who knew that the favorite was an enemy to all constraint, kiss'd her
right ear thrice, and retired.



CHAP. XXII.

_A Sketch of Mangogul's moral Philosophy._


Mangogul, impatient to see the favorite again, slept little, arose
earlier than usual, and was in her appartment before sun-rising. She
had already rung the bell: a servant had just opened the curtains,
and her women were preparing to dress her. The Sultan look'd narrowly
around her, and seeing never a dog, he asked her the reason of this
oddity. "I see," answered Mirzoza, "that you think me singular in
this article, but there is nothing in it." "I assure you," replied
the Sultan, "that I see dogs about all the women of my court, and you
will oblige me in informing me why they have them, or why you have
none. Most of them have several, and not one of them but lavishes such
caresses on her own, as she seems not to bestow on her lover without
some difficulty. How come these beasts to deserve the preference? What
use is made of them?"

Mirzoza was puzzled at these questions: however, she made this answer.
"To be sure, one keeps a dog as a parrot or a canary bird. It may be
ridiculous to set one's heart on these animals; but there is nothing
wonderful in having them: they sometimes amuse, and never injure. If
they are caressed, 'tis because such caresses are of no consequence.
Besides, do you believe, prince, that a lover is satisfied with a kiss,
such as a woman bestows on her pug-dog?" "Doubtless, I believe it,"
says the Sultan. "By Jupiter the man must be very nice, who would not
be satisfied."

One of Mirzoza's women, who had gain'd the good will of the Sultan and
his favorite by sweetness of temper, good parts, and zeal, said: "These
animals are inconvenient and nasty: they dirty one's clothes, spoil the
furniture, tare laces, and do more mischief in a quarter of an hour,
than would be sufficient to throw the most faithful lady's woman into
disgrace: and yet they are kept."

"Tho', according to madam, they are good for nothing but that," added
the Sultan.

"Prince," said Mirzoza, "we stick to our fancies, and the keeping of
dogs must be one, like many others, which would be no longer fancies,
if we could give a reason for them. The reign of monkeys is past,
the parrots still support themselves. Dogs fell, and now they rise
again. Squirrels have had their time: and it is with animals, as it has
successively been with Italian, English, geometry, farthingales, and
furbela's."

"Mirzoza," replied the Sultan, shaking his head, "has not all the
knowledge that may be acquired on this subject; and the Toys----"

"Is not your highness going to imagine," said the favorite, "that you
will be inform'd by Haria's Toy, why that woman, who saw her son, one
of her daughters, and her husband, die without shedding a tear, wept
the loss of her lap-dog for a whole fortnight."

"Why not?" replied Mangogul.

"Truly," says Mirzoza, "if our Toys could explain all our whims, they
would be more knowing than ourselves."

"Pray, who disputes that with you?" replied the Sultan. "For my part
I believe that the Toy makes a woman do a hundred things, without her
perceiving it: and I have remark'd on more occasions than one, that a
woman, who thought she was following her head, was obeying her Toy. A
great philosopher placed the soul, I mean ours, in the pineal gland. If
I allowed women to have one, I well know where I would place it."

"I excuse you from informing me," rejoin'd Mirzoza hastily. "But you
will permit me at least," said Mangogul, "to communicate some notions
to you, which my ring has suggested to me concerning women, upon a
supposition that they have a soul. The experiments, which I have made
with my ring, have made me a great moralist. I have neither the wit
of La Bruyere, nor the logic of Port Royal, nor the imagination of
Montaigne, nor the wisdom of Charron: but I have collected facts, to
which perhaps they were strangers."

"Speak, prince," answered Mirzoza ironically, "I will hear you with
all my ears. Moral essays of a Sultan of your age must be something
curious."

"The system of Orcotomus is extravagant, with the leave of his fellow
academician Hiragu: yet I find some sense in the answers which he gave
to the objections started against it. If I allowed a soul to women,
I would willingly suppose with him, that Toys have spoken from the
beginning, but softly: and that the effect of the Genius Cucufa's ring
is reduced to raising their voice. Upon this foundation nothing can be
more easy than to define the whole sex.

"The sober woman, for example, would be she whose Toy is silent, or is
not attended to.

"The prude, she who pretends not to listen to her Toy.

"The intriguing woman, she whose Toy desires a great deal, and who
allows it too much.

"The voluptuous, she who gives ear to her Toy with complaisance.

"The courtezan, she on whom her Toy is making demands every moment, and
who refuses it nothing.

"The coquette, she whose Toy is mute, or is not attended to; but who
gives hopes to all the men that come near her, that her Toy will speak
one day or other, and it may happen that she will not lend it a deaf
ear.

"Well, delight of my soul, what do you think of my definitions?" "I
think," said the favorite, "that your highness has forgot the tender
woman."

"If I have not mentioned her," answered the Sultan, "'tis because I
don't know what the term means; and that some able men pretend, that
the word tender, abstracting from all connection with the Toy, is void
of sense."

"How, void of sense," cried Mirzoza. "What! there is no medium then;
and a woman must absolutely be a prude, an intriguer, a coquette, a
voluptuous woman, or a libertin."

"Delight of my soul," said the Sultan, "I am willing to own the
inaccuracy of my enumeration, and will add the tender woman to the
preceding characters; but on condition that you will furnish me with a
definition of her, which will not coincide with any of mine."

"Most willingly," said Mirzoza. "I hope to compass it without quitting
your system."

"Let us see," added Mangogul.

"Well then," replied the favorite--"a tender woman is she----"

"Courage, Mirzoza," said Mangogul.

"Oh! I beg you won't disturb me. The tender woman is she----who has
loved without a word utter'd by her Toy, or----whose Toy has never
spoke, but in favor of the single man whom she loved."

It would not have been polite in the Sultan to chicane the favorite,
and ask her what she understood by love: wherefore he avoided it.
Mirzoza took his silence for consent, and proceeded, proud of
having extricated herself from a difficulty, which to her appeared
considerable. "Ye men believe, because we do not argue in form, that
we do not reason. Know once for all, that we could as easily discover
the falsity of your paradoxes, as ye that of our reasonings, if we
would give ourselves the trouble. If your highness was less in a hurry
to satisfy your curiosity on the subject of lap-dogs, I would in my
turn give you a scrap of my philosophy. But it shall not be lost: I
will reserve it for one of those days, that you will have more time to
bestow on me."

Mangogul assured her that he had no better business, than to profit of
her philosophical notions; that the metaphysics of a Sultana of twenty
two, ought not to be less singular than the morals of a Sultan of his
age.

But Mirzoza apprehending that this was pure complaisance in Mangogul,
begg'd some time to prepare, and thus gave the Sultan a pretext for
flying whither his impatience might call him.



CHAP. XXIII.

_Tenth trial of the Ring._

The Dogs.


Mangogul went immediately to Haria's house; and as he took pleasure
in soliloquy, he said within himself: "This woman never goes to bed
without her four dogs, and either Toys know nothing of those animals,
or her's will give me some account of them; for, thank God, 'tis well
known that she loves her dogs to admiration." At the end of this
monology he found himself in Haria's anti-chamber, and his olfactory
organ already informed him of madam having her usual company in bed
with her. These were a little shag-dog, a spaniel, and two pug-dogs.
The Sultan drew out his snuff-box, took two pinches of Spanish by way
of preservative, and approached Haria. She was asleep, but the pack,
who were upon the watch, hearing some noise, fell to barking, and woke
her. "Peace, my children," said she, but in so mild a tone, that she
could not be suspected of speaking to her daughters, "go to sleep, go
to sleep, and don't disturb my rest nor your own."

Haria was formerly young and pretty. She had had lovers of her own
rank, but they all disappear'd even sooner than her charms. By way
of comforting herself for this desertion, she gave into a whimsical
sort of pomp, and her footmen were the handsomest fellows in Banza.
She grew older and older, and years threw her into oeconomy: she
restrained herself to four dogs and two Bramins, and became a model of
edification. And surely the most envenom'd satyr could find no room to
carp at this management; and for above ten years Haria was in peaceful
possession of a high reputation of virtue, and of those animals. Nay,
her tenderness for the pug-dogs was so well known, that the Bramins
were no longer suspected of sharing it.

Haria renewed her intreaty to those beasts, and they had the
complaisance to obey. Then Mangogul applied his ring, and the
superannuated Toy set about relating the last of its adventures. It was
such a vast while since the first were atchieved, that it had almost
lost the very remembrance of them. "Withdraw, Pompey," it said with a
hoarse voice, "you fatigue me. I like Dido better; I find her more
gentle." Pompey, who was absolutely ignorant of the Toy's voice, went
on in his own way: but Haria awaking, continued. "Get away, then, you
little rogue, you hinder me from taking rest. That is well some times:
but too much is too much." Pompey withdrew. Dido took his place, and
Haria fell asleep.

Mangogul, who had suspended the energy of his ring, turn'd it on, and
the antiquated Toy, uttering a deep, sigh, fell to jabbering, and said:
"Alas! how I am grieved for the death of my large grey-hound; she was
the best little wife, the most caressing creature: she never ceased
giving amusement. She was so sensible, so genteel. Ye are but beasts
in comparison of her. That naughty master of mine killed her.----Poor
Zinzolina, I never think of her, without watering my plants. I
thought it would have been the death of my mistress. She neither eat
nor drank for two days, and narrowly escaped losing her senses. Judge
of her sorrow: her director, her friends, nay her very pug-dogs were
kept from me. Orders were issued to her women to refuse the door
of her appartment to my master, under the penalty of being turn'd
off.----'That monster has robb'd me of my dear Zinzolina,' cried she;
'let him not appear before me, I am resolved never to see him more.'"

Mangogul, curious of learning the circumstances of Zinzolina's death,
revived the electrical power of his ring by rubbing it on the skirt
of his doublet, pointed it at Haria, and the Toy resumed: "Haria,
Ramadec's widow, coiffed herself with Sindor. This youth was of good
birth, had no other fortune, but a certain merit which pleases the sex,
and was, after dogs, Haria's predominant taste. Sindor's indigence
conquered his repugnance to Haria's years and dogs. Twenty thousand
crowns a year blinded his eyes with regard to the wrinkles of his
mistress, and the inconveniency of the pug-dogs; and he married her.

"He was in hopes of getting the better of our beasts by his talents,
and complaisant behavior; and to bring them into disgrace from the very
commencement of his reign; but he was deceived. After the expiration of
some months, when he thought he had merited much by his services; he
took into his head to remonstrate to madam, that her dogs were not as
good company in bed for him as for her; that it was ridiculous to have
more than three; and that to admit more than one at a time, was turning
the nuptial bed into a kennel.

"'I advise you,' said Haria, in a furious tone, 'to attack me with such
speeches. Truly it well becomes a pitiful younger son from Gascony,
whom I have taken from a garret, which was not good enough for my dogs,
to give himself airs of nicety! To be sure, your sheets were perfumed,
my little squire, when you dwelt in furnish'd lodgings. Know this once
for all, that my dogs were long before you in possession of my bed, and
that you may choose either to quit it, or be content to share it with
them.'

"The declaration was peremptory, and our dogs remain'd masters of
their post. But one night, as we were all asleep, Sindor, in turning
unluckily kick'd Zinzolina. The hound, not used to such treatment,
bit the calf of his leg; and madam was immediately awaked by Sindor's
cries. 'What is the matter with you, Sir, one would think your throat
was cutting: you dream.' 'It is your dogs, madam, that devour me, and
your grey-hound has just torn off a piece of my leg.' 'Is that all?'
says Haria, turning from him. 'You make a vast noise for nothing.'

"Sindor, piqued at this discourse, jump'd out of bed, swearing that
he would never set his foot in it again, till the pack was banish'd
thence. He employ'd friends, in order to obtain the exile of the dogs:
but they all failed in that important negotiation. Haria's answer to
them was, that Sindor was a knight of the post, whom she had drawn
out of a cock-loft, which he shared with rats and mice; that it ill
became him to be so nice; that he slept the whole night long; that
she loved her dogs; that they amused her; that from her infancy she
had taken a liking to their caresses; and that she was resolved never
to deprive herself of them till death. 'Tell him besides,' continued
she, addressing the mediators, 'that if he does not humbly submit to
my will, he will repent it while he lives; that I will retract the
donation I have made him, and will add it to the sums which I have
bequeathed by my will, for the support of my dear children.'

"Between you and me," added the Toy, "Sindor must have been a great
fool, to hope that she would do for him, what could not be obtained
by twenty lovers, a director, a confessor, with a legion of Bramins,
who had all lost their Latin on that head. Mean while, as often as
Sindor met our animals, he was seized with such fits of passion, as he
could hardly conquer. One day the unfortunate Zinzolina fell in his
way. He took her by the neck, and threw her out of the window. The poor
creature was kill'd by the fall. Then it was, that a fine noise was
made. Haria, with inflamed countenance, and eyes bathed in tears----"

The Toy was going to repeat what it had already told; for Toys
willingly fall into repetitions: but Mangogul cut its words short.
Its silence was not of long duration: when the prince thought he had
put this doting Toy out of its road, he restored it the freedom of
speech; and the Tatler, bursting out into a loud laugh, resumed by
way of recollection: "But _à propos_, I forgot to tell you what pass'd
on Haria's wedding-night. I have seen a power of ridiculous things in
my life, but never one that came up to this. After a splendid supper,
the bride and bridegroom were conduced to their appartment. Every body
retired except madam's women who undress her: she is undress'd, put to
bed, and Sindor alone remains with her. Observing that the shag-dog,
the two pugs, and the grey-hound, more alert than himself, were taking
possession of his bride; 'permit me, madam,' he said, 'to remove these
rivals a little.' 'My dear, do what you can,' answered Haria: 'for my
part, I have not the courage to drive them away; these little animals
are so attached to me; and I have been so long without any other
company.' 'Perhaps,' replied Sindor, 'they will have the politeness
this night to surrender the fort to me, which I must take possession
of.' 'Try, sir,' said Haria.

"At first Sindor tried gentle means, and pray'd Zinzolina to retire
to a corner. But the untractable animal fell to growling: the allarm
spread among the rest of the troop; and the pug-dogs and shag-dog
bark'd as if their mistress's throat was cutting. Sindor, losing all
patience at this noise, tosses away one of the pugs, drives off the
other, and seizes Pompey by the paw. Pompey, the faithful Pompey,
abandoned by his allies, endeavour'd to repair this loss by the
advantages of the post. Fix'd on his mistress's thighs, with eyes
inflamed, hair standing an end, and open mouth, he grin'd, and shew'd
the enemy two rows of very sharp teeth. Sindor made several assaults
on him, and Pompey repell'd him as often, with bitten fingers and torn
ruffles. The action lasted above a quarter of an hour with an obstinacy
which gave diversion to none but Haria; when Sindor had recourse to a
stratagem against an enemy, whom he despaired conquering by force. He
provoked Pompey with the right hand. Pompey watching this motion, did
not observe that of the left, and was seized by the neck. He made most
vigorous efforts to disengage himself, but in vain. He was obliged
to quit the field of battle, and surrender up Haria. Sindor took
possession of her, but not without effusion of blood: in all likelihood
Haria had resolved that her wedding-night should be a bloody one: her
animals made a good defence, and disappointed not her expectations."

"There," says Mangogul, "is a Toy, that could write a Gazette better
than my secretary." And now well knowing what notions to form of lap
dogs, he return'd to the favorite.

"Prepare yourself," said he, as soon as he saw her, "to hear the most
extravagant things in the world. 'Tis much worse than the baboons of
Palabria. Could you believe, that Haria's four dogs were the rivals,
and the preferred rivals of her husband; and that the death of a
greyhound has raised a quarrel between that couple, never to be made
up."

"What do you say," replied the favorite, "of rivals and dogs. I am
quite in the dark. I know that Haria loves her dogs excessively; but
I know at the same time that Sindor is a hot-temper'd man, who perhaps
did not use all that complaisance, which women require, to whom a man
owes his fortune. But yet, whatever has been his conduct, I cannot
conceive that it has drawn rivals on him. Haria is so venerable, that
I could wish your highness would vouchsafe to explain yourself more
intelligibly."

"Listen," says Mangogul, "and agree that women have excessively
whimsical tastes, to say nothing worse;" then he related Haria's
history to her word for word, as the Toy had told it. Mirzoza could
not refrain from laughter at the first night's battle: but presently
resuming a serious air: "I can't tell," said she to Mangogul, "what
indignation seizes me. I shall have an aversion for these animals and
all those who keep any, and I shall declare to my women that I will
turn off the first, who shall be even suspected of having a lap-dog."

"Pray," replied the Sultan, "why will you extend your hatred so far?
You women are always upon extremes. These animals are good for hunting,
are necessary in the country, and have many other uses, without
reckoning that which Haria makes of them."

"In truth," said Mirzoza, "I begin to believe that your highness will
find it a difficult task to light on a virtuous woman."

"I told you so," answered Mangogul; "but let us not be over hasty:
you may one time or other upbraid me with being indebted to your want
of patience for a declaration, which I pretend to owe entirely to the
trials of my ring. I have some in my mind, which will astonish you.
All secrets are not yet unveiled; and I expect to draw more important
discoveries from those Toys, which remain to be consulted."

Mirzoza was in perpetual apprehensions for her own. Mangogul's
discourse threw her into such uneasiness, as she was not able to
conceal from him: but the Sultan, who had bound himself by an oath,
and in his heart had a regard for religion, used his best endeavours
to calm her mind, gave her some very tender kisses, and went to his
council, whither affairs of moment called him.



CHAP. XXIV.

_Eleventh trial of the Ring._

The Pensions.


Congo had been disturbed by bloody wars in the reigns of Kanaglou and
Erguebzed; and those two monarchs had immortalized themselves by the
conquests they had made over their neighbours. The emperors of Abex and
Angola look'd on the youth of Mangogul and the beginning of his reign,
as favourable conjunctures to recover the provinces that had been taken
from them. Wherefore they declared war against Congo, and attacked it
on every side. Mangogul had the best council in all Africa: and old
Sambuco and the Emir Mirzala, who were train'd up in the former wars,
were placed at the head of the troops, gain'd victories on victories,
and formed generals capable of succeeding them; an advantage of greater
importance than even their successes.

Thanks to the activity of the council, and the good conduct of the
generals, the enemy, who thought themselves sure of overcoming the
empire, did not advance as far as the frontiers, made a poor defence of
their own, and saw their fortified towns and provinces ravaged. But,
such constant and glorious successes notwithstanding, Congo grew weaker
by aggrandizing itself: the frequent raising of troops unpeopled the
towns and country: and the treasury was exhausted.

The sieges and battles had cost a vast number of lives: the grand
Visir, very lavish of the blood of the soldiery, was accused of
having hazarded battles that tended to nothing. Every family was in
mourning: not one, but wept a father, a brother, or a friend. The
number of officers slain was prodigious; and could be compared to
naught but their wives, who sollicited pensions. The closets of the
ministers were beset with them. They pestered the Sultan himself with
petitions, in which the merit and services of the deceased, the grief
of their widows, the dismal condition of their children, and other
moving motives were not forgotten. Nothing seemed more equitable than
their requests: but on what fund to ground pensions which amounted to
millions?

The ministers, after having exhausted speeches, and sometimes
peevishness and rough language, were obliged to deliberate on the means
of bringing this affair to a final issue: but they had an excellent
reason for concluding nothing: there was not a penny left.

Mangogul, tired with the false reasonings of his ministers and the
lamentations of the widows, hit upon the expedient, which his ministry
had been so long hunting after. "Gentlemen," said he to his council, "I
am of opinion that, before any pensions are granted, it would be proper
to examine if they are lawfully due." "This examination," answered the
great Seneschal, "will be immense, and of prodigious discussion. Yet
how to resist the clamors and persecution of these women, by whom you,
sir, are particularly teazed?" "It will not be as difficult a talk as
you imagine, Mr. Seneschal," replied the Sultan; "and I promise you
that by to morrow noon the whole affair shall be terminated, by the
laws of the strictest equity. Do you only bring them to my audience
chamber by nine in the morning."

The council broke up, the Seneschal went into his office, pondered
profoundly, and drew up the following proclamation; which in three
hours time was printed, published by sound of trumpet, and fixed up at
all the most public places of Banza.

 By the Sultan's most excellent majesty, and my lord the grand
 Seneschal,

 We Gander-beak, grand Seneschal of Congo, visir of the first bench,
 train-bearer to the great Manimonbanda, chief and super-intendant of
 the sweepers of the divan, give notice, that to-morrow morning at nine
 of the clock, the magnanimous Sultan will give audience to the widows
 of the officers slain in his service, in order to decree, on sight of
 their pretensions, what to him shall seem meet. Given at our office
 the twelfth of the moon of Regeb, in the year 147200000009.

All the distressed women of Congo, and a great number of them there
was, did not fail to read the proclamation, or to send their footmen to
read it; and less still to be at the appointed hour, in the lobby of
the audience chamber. "In order to avoid a crowd, let no more enter,"
said the Sultan, "than six of these ladies at once. When we have heard
them, let them pass thro' the back door, which leads to the outward
courts. You, gentlemen, be attentive, and pronounce on their demands."

This said, he made a signal to the first gentleman usher of the
audiences; and the six, who happen'd to be next the door, were
introduced. They entered in long mourning robes, and made low
reverences to his highness. Mangogul addressed the youngest and
handsomest of them, whose name was Ifec. "Madam," said he, "how long
is it since you have lost your husband?" "Three months," answered Ifec
weeping. "He was lieutenant general in your highness's service. He was
kill'd in the last battle, and six children are the only legacy he left
me"--"He left you?" interrupted a voice, which, tho' issuing from Ifec,
was not exactly in the same tone with her's. "Madam knows better than
she says. They were all begun and finished by a young Bramin, who daily
came to comfort her, while my master was in the field."

'Tis easy to guess, whence proceeded the indiscreet voice, which
pronounced this answer. Poor Ifec, being put out of countenance,
grew pale, trembled, fainted. "Madam is subject to the vapors," said
Mangogul with an air of tranquillity: "let her be carried into an
appartment of the Seraglio, and be taken care of." Then immediately
addressing Phenice: "Madam," said he, "was not your husband a Pacha?"
"Yes, sir," answered Phenice in a trembling voice. "And how have you
lost him?" "Sir, he died in his bed, quite exhausted with the fatigues
of the last campaign"--"With the fatigues of the last campaign,"
replied Phenice's Toy. "Go, madam, your husband brought a firm and
vigorous state of health from the camp; and he would still enjoy it,
had not two or three scoundrel players,--you understand me, take care
of yourself." "Write," says the Sultan, "that Phenice demands a
pension, for the good services, which she has rendered to the state and
her husband."

A third was interrogated on her husband's age and name, who was said
to have died in the army of the small-pox. "Of the small pox," said
the Toy, "a fine story indeed: say, madam, of two good strokes of a
scymeter which he received from the Sangiac Cavaglio, because he took
it ill, that his eldest son was said to be as like the Sangiac, as one
egg is to another: and madam knows as well as I," added the Toy, "that
a likeness was never better grounded."

The fourth was going to speak without being interrogated by Mangogul,
when her Toy was heard to cry out from the lower regions, that these
ten years part, which the war had lasted, she had made pretty good use
of her time; that two pages and a huge scoundrel of a footman had
supplied her husband's place; and that without doubt she designed the
pension, which she was solliciting, for keeping an actor of the comic
opera.

A fifth stept forward with intrepidity, and with an air of confidence
demanded the reward of her late husband's services, who was an aga of
the Janissaries, and lost his life under the walls of Matatras. The
Sultan turn'd his ring on her, but to no purpose. Her Toy was mute. "I
must own," says the African author, who had seen her, "that she was
so ugly, that the by-standers would be astonished, if her Toy had any
thing to say."

Mangogul was got to the sixth, and here are the express words of
her Toy. "Truly, it well becomes madam," meaning her, whose Toy was
obstinately silent, "to sollicite pensions, while she lives upon the
poule, keeps a breland table which brings her in three thousand sequins
a year, makes private suppers at the expence of the gamesters, and
received six hundred sequins from Osman, to draw me to one of these
suppers, where the treacherous Osman----"

"Due regard shall be paid to your petitions, ladies," said the Sultan:
"for the present ye may withdraw." Then directing his words to his
counsellors, he ask'd them, if it did not seem ridiculous to them to
grant pensions to a herd of little bastards of Bramins and others, and
to women whose employment it was to dishonor brave men, who had enter'd
into his service in quest of glory, at the expence of their lives.

The Seneschal stood up, answered, declaimed, resumed, and gave his
opinion obscurely as usual. While he was yet speaking, Ifec recovered
from her fit, quite enraged at her adventure; and, as she expected no
pension for herself, and would run distracted, if any other obtain'd
one, which would have happened in all likelihood, she went directly
into the antichamber, and whispered to two or three of her female
friends, that they were summoned thither purely to hear their Toys
chatter; that she herself heard one deliver horrid things in the
audience chamber; that she would not name it for the world; but that
they must be fools, to expose themselves to the same danger.

This advice passed from hand to hand, and dispersed the crowd of
widows. When the gentleman usher opened the door to let in a second
parcel, not one was there. "Well, Seneschal, will you believe me
another time?" said Mangogul informed of the desertion, to the good
man, clapping him on the shoulder. "I promised to rid you of these
female weepers, and I have done it. Yet they were very assiduous in
making court to you, notwithstanding your fourscore and fifteen years
of age. But whatever pretensions you may possibly have: for I am not
ignorant of the facility you had to form pretensions on these ladies,
I fancy you are obliged to me for their retreat. They gave you more
_embarras_ than pleasure."

The African author informs us, that the remembrance of this trial is
kept up in Congo; and for that reason it is, that the government is so
sparing of granting pensions: but this was not the only good effect of
Cucufa's ring, as we shall see in the following chapter.



CHAP. XXV.

_Twelfth Trial of the Ring._

A Law Case.


Rapes were severely punished in Congo: and there happened a most
notorious one in Mangogul's reign. This prince, at his accession to the
crown, had sworn, like all his predecessors, never to grant a pardon
for that crime: but be laws ever so severe, they seldom curb those,
whom a considerable advantage urges to infringe them. The criminal was
condemned to lose that part of him, by which he had sinned; a cruel
operation, of which he generally died; as the person who performed it,
used less precaution than B----ll.

Kerfael, a young man of a good family, had now languished six months
in a dungeon, waiting for the day of execution. Fatme, a young
pretty woman, was his Lucretia and accuser. Every body knew, that
they had been very well together: Fatme's indulgent husband took no
exceptions against it: therefore it would be ungenteel in the public to
intermeddle in their affairs.

After an undisturbed commerce of two years, whether thro' inconstancy
or disgust, Kerfael took to a dancer at the opera of Banza, and grew
cold towards Fatme, yet without coming to an open rupture. He resolved
to make a decent retreat; which obliged him to continue his visits in
the house. Fatme enraged for being thus forsaken, meditated revenge,
and made use of this remnant of his assiduities to destroy her
unfaithful lover.

One day, that the convenient husband had left them _tête à tête_, and
that Kerfael, having ungirt his scymeter, was endeavouring to allay
Fatme's suspicions by protestations, which cost nothing to lovers,
but never surprize the credulity of a jealous woman; she assumed
an affrighted air, and having tore her dress at five or six pulls,
shriek'd out horridly, and call'd to her husband and domestics for
help; who ran immediately, and became witnesses to the injury, which
Fatme said she received from Kerfael; and shewing the scymeter, added:
"This the infamous villain lifted at my head ten times to make me
submit to his will."

The young man, struck dumb at the blackness of the accusation, had not
power either to answer or make his escape. He was seiz'd, dragg'd
to prison, and deliver'd up to justice and the prosecution of the
Cadilesker.

The laws ordained that Fatme should be visited. Accordingly she was;
and the report of the matrons proved very unfavourable to the accused.
They had an original standard, by which they could determine the
condition of a violated woman; and every circumstance concurred against
Kerfael. The judges examined him, Fatme was confronted with him, and
the evidence was heard. In vain did he plead innocence, deny the fact,
and demonstrate by the commerce which he held with his accuser above
two years, that she was not a woman to be ravished. The circumstance of
the scymeter, the _tête à tête_ solitude, Kerfael's confusion at the
sight of the husband and domestics; taken all together formed, in the
opinion of the judges, violent presumptions. Fatme on her side, far
from owning that she had granted him favors, would not even allow that
she gave him the least glimmering of hopes; and maintain'd that her
obstinate adherence to her duty, from which she had never flinch'd, was
without doubt what urged Kerfael to acquire by force, what he despair'd
obtaining by craft. The verbal process drawn up by the commissaries
was another terrible piece. Nothing more was requisite, than to run
it over, and compare it with the articles of the Criminal Code, to
read unhappy Kerfael's condemnation therein. He lost all expectations
of life either by his defence, or the credit of his family; the
magistrates had fixed the definitive sentence to the thirteenth of
the month of Rebeg: and this was even published by sound of trumpet,
according to custom.

This affair became the topic of conversations, and people were divided
upon it for a good while. Some old hags, who had always been very safe
from any apprehensions of a rape, ran about crying: "That Kerfael's
attack was enormous; that unless a severe example were made of him,
innocence would be no longer in security; and that an honest woman
would be exposed to insults, even at the horns of the Altar." Then
they cited instances of little impertinent puppies having attack'd the
virtue of several respectable ladies: and the circumstances left no
room to doubt, but that those respectable ladies mentioned by them were
themselves: and all these speeches were made to Bramins less innocent
than Kerfael, and by devotes as chaste as Fatme, by way of edifying
conversations.

The _Petits-Maitres_ on the contrary, and even some
_Petites-Maitresses_, asserted that a rape was a chimæra, that a
woman never surrendered but by capitulation; and that, if a fort was
defended, tho' ever so little, it was absolutely impossible to take
it by storm. Examples were alledged in support of this reasoning: the
women knew some; the _Petits-Maitres_ invented others; and there was
no end of quoting instances of women, who had not been ravished. "Poor
Kerfael," said they, "what the devil had he in his head, to take to
little Bimbreloqua," which was the dancer's name, "why did he not stick
to Fatme? They were extremely well together, and the husband left them
at full liberty: what a blessing----Those witches the matrons put on
their spectacles to no purpose, for they saw nothing. And indeed,
who is the person that can see clear in that place? And besides, the
senators are going to deprive him of his joy, for having burst an open
door. The poor lad will die of it, no doubt. After that, pray consider,
what will not dissatisfied women be authorized to do."----"If this
execution takes place," interrupted another, "I will make myself a free
mason."

Mirzoza, naturally compassionate, remonstrated to Mangogul, who was
joking her on Kerfael's case, that if the laws spoke against Kerfael,
good sense deposed against Fatme. "Moreover," added she, "it has never
been heard, that, in a wise government, the letter of the law should be
so closely adhered to, that the simple allegation of a female accuser
should be sufficient to endanger the life of a subject. The reality of
a rape cannot be too clearly proved; and you will allow, Sir, that
this fact is as much at least within the province of your ring as of
your senators. It would be very singular, that the matrons should be
more knowing on this head than the Toys themselves. Hitherto your
highness's ring has done little more than satisfy your curiosity. Might
not the Genius, from whom you had it, have intended some more important
end? If you employ it for the discovery of truth, and the happiness
of your subjects, can you think the Genius will be offended? Try. You
are in possession of an infallible method of drawing from Fatme a
confession of her crime, or a proof of her innocence." "You are in the
right," replied Mangogul, "and you shall be satisfied."

The Sultan departed immediately: and indeed there was no time to
lose: for it was the night of the twelfth of the moon Rebeg, and the
senate was to pronounce sentence on the thirteenth. Fatme was just
got into bed, the curtains were not quite closed. A night taper threw
a dull light on her countenance. The Sultan thought her beautiful,
notwithstanding the violent commotions which disfigured her. Compassion
and hatred, grief and revenge, audaciousness and shame were painted
in her eyes, according as they succeeded each other in her heart.
She uttered deep sighs, shed tears, wiped them off, shed fresh ones,
remained some moments with her head drooping and eyes dejected, then
suddenly raised them, and darted furious looks towards the heavens.
What was Mangogul doing all this time? He was talking to himself, and
saying. "These are the symptoms of despair. Her former tenderness
for Kerfael has revived in all its violence. She has lost sight of
the offence he committed, and has nothing in view but the punishment
reserved for her lover." As soon as he had finished these words, he
turned the fatal ring on Fatme, and her Toy cried out with vehemence.

"Twelve hours more, and we shall be revenged. The treacherous
ingrateful man shall perish, and his blood shall be shed." Fatme
affrighted at the extraordinary motion which she felt within her,
and shock'd at the buzzing voice of her Toy, clapt both hands on
it, and put herself upon duty to stop its mouth. But the powerful
ring continued to act, and the ungovernable Toy breaking thro' every
obstacle, added: "Yes, we shall be revenged. O! thou who hast betray'd
me, wretched Kerfael, dye, and thou, whom he has preferred to me, O
Bimbreloqua, despair!----Twelve hours more! Alas! how tedious will
this time appear to me. Hasten, sweet moments, when I shall see the
treacherous, the ingrateful Kerfael under the executioner's knife, his
blood trickling down----Ah! Wretch, what have I said? Can I without
horror see the dearest object of my love perish? Can I see the fatal
weapon lifted up?----Ah! far from me this cruel thought.--He hates me,
'tis true; he has quitted me for Bimbreloqua, but perhaps some time or
other----why do I say, perhaps? Love will certainly recall him under
my yoke. That little Bimbreloqua is a fancy that will fly off; he must
sooner or later be sensible of the injustice of his preference, and
the ridiculousness of his new choice. Comfort thyself, Fatme, thou
shalt see thy Kerfael again. Yes, thou shalt see him again. Arise
quickly, run, fly to remove the dreadful danger which threatens him.
Dost thou not tremble to come too late?--But whither shall I run, mean
wretch that I am. Does not Kerfael's disdain foretel me, that he has
abandoned me for ever. Bimbreloqua enjoys him, and 'tis for her that I
was going to save him: ah! let him rather dye a thousand deaths. If he
lives no more for me, why should I be concerned for his death?--Yes,
I am now convinced that my wrath is just. The ingrateful Kerfael has
deserved all my hatred. I no longer have any remorse. I had done
every thing to keep him, I will do every thing to destroy him. Yet
one day later, and my revenge was disappointed. But his evil genius
delivered him up to me, the very moment that he thought to escape me.
He is fallen into the snare which I laid for him. I have him fast. The
appointment, to which I contrived to bring thee, was the last which
thou intendedst for me: but thou wilt not so soon forget it.--With what
address did you bring him to your beck? Fatme, how well concerted was
your disorder? Your shrieks, your grief, your tears, your confusion,
every thing, even to your silence, has ruin'd Kerfael. Nothing can
snatch him from his impending fate. Kerfael is dead--You weep, wretched
woman. He loved another, of what consequence is his life to you."

Mangogul, filled with horror at this discourse, turned off his ring;
and while Fatme was recruiting her spirits, he flew back to the
Sultana. "Well, prince," said she, "what have you heard? Is Kerfael
still guilty, and the chast Fatme"--"I beseech you to excuse me,"
answered the Sultan, "from repeating the abominations which I come from
hearing. How an exasperated woman is to be dreaded! Who could believe,
that a body formed by the graces, sometimes enclosed a heart molded
by the furies? But the sun shall not set to-morrow on my dominions,
before they be purged of a monster more dangerous than those which are
produced in my deserts."

The Sultan immediately sent for the Seneschal, and commanded him to
seize Fatme, to remove Kerfael into one of the appartments of the
seraglio, and to inform the Senate, that he reserved to himself the
cognizance of his affair. His orders were executed that very night.

The next morning at dawn of day, the Sultan attended by the Seneschal
and an Effendi, went to Mirzoza's appartment, and had Fatme brought
thither. This unfortunate woman threw herself at Mangogul's feet,
confessed her crime with all its circumstances, and conjured Mirzoza
to intercede for her. Mean while Kerfael was conducted in. He expected
nothing but death: however he made his appearance with that composed
assurance, which innocence alone can give. Some ill-natured wags said,
that he would be in greater consternation, if what he was threaten'd
to lose, was worth preserving. The women were upon the tenters to know
the issue. He prostrated himself respectuously before his highness.
Mangogul made him a signal to arise, and giving him his hand, "You
are innocent," said he, "be free. Render thanks to Brama for your
preservation. In order to make amends for the misery you have suffered,
I grant you a pension of two thousand sequins on my exchequer, and the
first commandery that shall fall in the order of the Crocodile."

The more favors were bestowed on Kerfael, the more Fatme dreaded
punishment. The great Seneschal gave his opinion for death, grounded
upon the law: _Si foemina ff. de vi C. calumniatrix_. The Sultan was
inclined for perpetual imprisonment. Mirzoza finding too much rigor in
one of these judgments, and too much indulgence in the other, condemned
Fatme's Toy to the padlock. The Florentine machine was publickly
clapt on, upon the same scaffold that had been erected for Kerfael's
execution. Thence she was conducted to a house of correction, together
with the matrons who had given their decisive opinions with so much
knowledge.



CHAP. XXVI.

_Mirzoza's Metaphysics._

The Souls.


While Mangogul was interrogating the Toys of Haria, the widows, and
Fatme, Mirzoza had full time to prepare her philosophical lecture.
One evening, that the Manimonbanda was performing her devotions, that
there was neither play nor drawing room at court, and that the favorite
was almost certain of a visit from the Sultan; she took two black
petticoats, put one on in the usual manner, and the other over her
shoulders, passed her hands thro' the two slits, put on the peruke
of Mangogul's Seneschal, and his chaplain's square cap; and thought
herself equipped as a philosopher, whereas she had disguised herself
into a bat.

In this masquerade dress, she walked up and down her appartments, as a
professor of the royal college waiting for his scholars. She affected
even to the gloomy pensive physiognomy of a learned man in meditation.
Mirzoza did not hold this forced gravity long. The Sultan entered with
some of his courtiers, and made a low bow to the new philosopher; whose
gravity disconcerted her audience, and was in its turn disconcerted
by the loud laughter it occasioned. "Madam," said Mangogul, "have you
not advantage enough by your wit and figure, without taking the robe
to your aid? without which your words would have all the weight that
you could have desired." "It seems to me, sir," answered Mirzoza, "that
you do not much respect this robe, and that a disciple should pay more
regard to what constitutes half the merit at least of his master." "I
perceive," replied the Sultan, "that you have already acquired the
spirit and tone of your new condition. I make no doubt at present, but
your capacity answers to the dignity of your dress, and I impatiently
expect a proof of it."--"You shall be satisfied this minute," said
Mirzoza, sitting down in the center of a large carpet. The Sultan and
courtiers placed themselves around her, and she began.

"Have the philosophers, who presided over your highness's education,
ever entertain'd you on the nature of the soul?" "Oh! very often,"
said Mangogul; "but all their systems had no other end, but giving me
uncertain notions of it; and were it not for an inward sentiment, which
seems to suggest to me, that it is a substance different from matter,
I should either have denied its existence, or confounded it with the
body. Would you undertake to clear up this chaos?"

"So far from it," replied Mirzoza, "that I am not farther advanced
on that head than your pedagogues. The only difference between them
and me, is that I suppose the existence of a substance different
from matter, and that they hold it demonstrated. But this substance,
if it exists, must be lodged somewhere. Have they not preached many
extravagances to you on that article?"

"No," said Mangogul: "they all pretty generally agreed, that it resides
in the head; and this opinion to me seemed probable. 'Tis the head
that thinks, imagines, reflects, judges, disposes, commands; and we say
every day of a man who does not think, that he has no brains, or that
he wants a head."

"Well then," replied the Sultana, "the result of your long studies
and of all your philosophy, is, to suppose a fact, and to ground it
on popular expressions. Prince, what would you say of your first
geographer, if he presented your highness with a map of your dominions,
in which he had put the east in the west, and the north in the south?"

"That is too gross an error," answered Mangogul, "for any geographer to
have ever committed."

"That may be," continued the favorite; "and in the case before us, your
philosophers are greater bunglers, than the most bungling geographer
can be. They had not a vast empire to survey; the business was not to
fix the limits of the four parts of the world: all they had to do, was
to enter into themselves, and there mark the true seat of their soul.
Yet they have placed the east in the west, and the south in the north.
They have pronounced that the soul is in the head, whereas the greatest
part of mankind dye, without it's ever inhabiting that appartment; and
its first residence is in the feet."

"In the feet!" interrupted the Sultan. "That is the most empty notion
that I have ever heard."

"Yes, in the feet," replied Mirzoza, "and this opinion, which to you
seems so silly, will, upon thoroughly examining it, become rational;
contrary to all those, which you allow as true, and which upon a
thorough examination are found to be false. Your highness agreed with
me just now, that the existence of our soul was founded on the interior
testimony alone, which it bore to itself; and I will now demonstrate,
that all the proofs imaginable of sense concur to fix the soul in the
seat which I have assigned it."

"There we expect you," said Mangogul.

"I desire no favor," continued she; "and I invite ye all to propose
your difficulties. Well then, I was saying that the soul takes up
its first residence in the feet, that there it begins to exist, and
from the feet it advances into the body. To experience I appeal for
this fact; and perhaps I am going to lay the first foundations of
experimental metaphysics.

"We have all experienced in our infancy, that the benumbed soul
remains whole months in a state of sleepiness. At that time the eyes
open without seeing, the mouth without speaking, and the ears without
hearing. 'Tis elsewhere that the soul endeavours to stretch itself and
awake; 'tis in other members that she practises her first functions.
'Tis by the feet that a child gives notice of his formation. His
body, head and arms are immoveable in the mother's womb; but his feet
unfold and extend themselves, and give proofs of his existence, and
perhaps of his exigences. When he is on the point of birth, what would
become of his head, body and arms? They would never come out of their
confinement, had they not been assisted by the feet: here the feet act
the principal part, and drive the rest of the body before them. Such is
the order of nature; and whenever any other member attempts to lead
the van; when the head, for example, takes the place of the feet; every
thing goes wrong, and God knows what is the consequence sometimes, both
to the mother and the child.

"Is the child born? 'tis still in the feet that the chief motions are
performed. We are obliged to confine them: and this is never done
without some reluctance on their part. The head is a block, with which
we do what we will; but the feet are sensible of, shake off the yoke,
and seem jealous of the liberty, of which they are deprived.

"Is the child able to stand alone? the feet make a thousand efforts to
move; they put every thing into action: they command the other members,
and the obedient hands lean against the walls, and advance forward to
prevent or break the falls, and facilitate the action of the feet.

"Whither do all the thoughts of a child tend, what are his pleasures,
when, secure on his legs, his feet have acquired the habit of moving?
To exercise them, to go to and fro', to run, to leap, to bounce. This
turbulence pleases us, we take it for a mark of sense; and we predict
the future stupidity of the child, when we see him indolent and sullen.
Have you a mind to vex a child of four years old? make him sit down for
a quarter of an hour, or imprison him between four chairs: he will grow
peevish and ill-humor'd: for 'tis not his legs alone that you deprive
of exercise, 'tis his soul that you hold in captivity.

"The soul remains in the feet to the age of two or three years; at four
it inhabits the legs; it gets up to the knees and thighs at fifteen.
Then we love dancing, fencing, riding, and the other violent bodily
exercises. This is the predominant passion of all young folks, and
the madness of some. What! does not the soul reside in those places,
where she almost only manifests herself, and where she feels the most
agreeable sensations? But if her residence varies in infancy and youth,
why should it not vary thro' every stage of life?"

Mirzoza pronounced this discourse with such rapidity as made her pant.
Selim, one of the Sultan's favorites, embraced the moment while she was
taking breath, and said to her: "Madam, I will make use of the liberty
you have granted the company, of proposing their objections. Your
system is ingenious, and you have delivered it with equal grace and
clearness: but I am not so far seduced by it, as to think it stands
demonstrated. Methinks one may say, that even in infancy 'tis the head
that commands the feet, and from thence the spirits flow, which, by
means of the nerves, running into all the members, stop or move them
at the will of the soul seated on the pineal gland: just as we see his
highness's orders issuing from the sublime Porte, which set all his
subjects in action."

"Doubtless," replied Mirzoza, "but one would tell me a very obscure
thing; to which I should give no other answer than by an experienced
fact. In infancy we have no certainty that the head thinks; and even
you, my lord, who have so good an one, and who in your tender years
passed for a prodigy of reason, do you remember that you thought at
that time? But you might well assert, that when you gamboled about like
a little Dæmon, so as to drive your governants out of their wits, your
feet then governed your head."

"That proves nothing," said the Sultan. "Selim was lively, and so are
a thousand other children. They do not reflect, but they think: time
slips away, the remembrance of things wears out, and they remember not
that they thought."

"But by what part did they think," replied Mirzoza: "for that is the
point in dispute?"

"By the head," answered Selim.

"What! always this head, into which one cannot peep," replied the
Sultana. "Pray, drop your dark lanthorn, in which you suppose a light,
that is seen by none but by him who carries it: hear my experiment, and
own the truth of my hypothesis. It is so constantly true, that the
soul begins its progress in the body by the feet, that there are some
of both sexes, in whom it never rose higher. My lord, you have admired
Nini's nimbleness and Saligo's feats of activity a thousand times:
answer me then sincerely, do you think that these creatures have their
souls any where else but in their legs? And have you not remarked, that
in Volucer and Zelindor the head is submissive to the feet? The eternal
temptation of a dancer is to contemplate his legs. At every step his
attentive eye follows his paces, and his head bows respectuously before
his feet, as do before his highness his invincible Pacha's."

"I allow the observation," said Selim: "but I deny that it is a general
one."

"Nor do I pretend," replied Mirzoza, "that the soul always fixes in
the feet: she advances, she travels, she quits a part, returns to
it, and quits it again; but I maintain that the other members are
subordinate to that which she inhabits. All this varies according to
the age, temper and circumstances; and thence arises the difference of
tastes, the diversity of inclinations and characters. Do you not admire
the fecundity of my principle? And is not its certainty evinced by the
number of phænomena, to which it extends?"

"Madam," answered Selim, "if you applied it to some in particular,
perhaps it might give us a degree of conviction, which we have not yet
acquired."

"Most willingly," replied Mirzoza, who began to be sensible of the
advantages she gain'd: "you shall be satisfied, only follow the chain
of my notions. I do not pretend to make arguments in form. I speak
from my heart; this is the philosophy of our sex, and you understand it
almost as well as we. It is probable enough," added she, "that the soul
occupies the feet and legs to the age of eight or ten: but about that
time, or rather later, she quits that lodging, either of her own free
motion, or by force. By force, when a tutor employs certain machines
to drive her out of her native place, and lead her into the brain;
where she is metamorphosed generally into memory, and seldom or never
into judgment. This is the fate of school-boys. In like manner, if a
weak governant labours hard to form a young girl, stuffs her mind with
knowledge, and neglects the heart and morals; the soul rapidly flies
towards the head, stops on the tongue, or fixes in the eyes; and her
scholar is but a tiresome pratler, or a coquet.

"Thus the voluptuous woman is she whose soul occupies her Toy, and
never strays from it.

"The woman of gallantry, she whose soul is sometimes in her Toy, and
sometimes in her eyes.

"The affectionate woman, she whose soul is habitually in the heart, but
sometimes also in her Toy.

"The virtuous woman, she whose soul is sometimes in her head, sometimes
in her heart, but never any where else.

"If the soul fixes in the heart, she forms the characters of
sensibility, compassion, truth, generosity. If she quits the heart
without returning thither, and retires to the head; then she forms
those whom we call hardhearted, ungrateful, deceitful, cruel men.

"The class of those, in whom the soul visits the head merely as a
country-house, where its stay is short, is very numerous. It is
composed of _Petits-Maitres_, coquets, musicians, poets, romancers,
courtiers, and all those who are called pretty women. Listen to the
reasoning of these entities, and you will instantly discern vagabond
souls, which are influenced by the different climes they inhabit."

"If that be the case," said Selim, "nature has formed many useless
things. And yet our sages hold as a constant maxim, that she has
produced nothing in vain."

"Drop your sages and their lofty expressions," answered Mirzoza; "and
as to nature, let us consider her with the eyes of experience only,
and we shall learn from her, that she has placed the soul in the body
of man, as in a spacious palace, of which she does not always occupy
the most beautiful appartment. The head and heart are principally
destined for her, as the center of virtue, and the residence of truth:
but most commonly she stops on the road, and prefers a garret, a
suspicious place, a miserable inn, where she drops asleep in perpetual
drunkenness. Ah! If I were allowed for twenty-four hours only, to
settle the world according to my fancy, I would divert you with a
very strange sight: in a moment I would deprive each soul of the
superfluous parts of its habitation; and you would see each individual
characterised by the part left him. Thus dancers would be reduced to
two feet, or two legs at most; singers to a throat; most women to a
Toy; hero's and prize-fighters to an armed hand; certain learned men
to a skull without brains; a female gamester should be stinted to two
hands incessantly shuffling the cards; a glutton to two jaws always
in motion; a coquet to two eyes; a rake to the sole instrument of his
passion; the ignorant and lazy to nothing."

"If you leave the women any hands at all," interrupted the Sultan,
"those men whom you would reduce to the sole instrument of their
passions, would be pursued. This chace would be a pleasant sight: and
if the sex was as greedy of this game every where else as in Congo, the
species would soon be extinct."

"But," said Selim to the favorite, "of what would you compose
affectionate and sensible women, constant and faithful lovers?"

"Of a heart," answered Mirzoza; "and I well know," added she, darting
a tender glance on Mangogul, "that, to which mine would wish to be
united."

The Sultan could not stand against this declaration: he sprung from
his seat to the favorite: the courtiers disappear'd, and the new
philosopher's chair became the theatre of their pleasures: he gave
her repeated proofs that he was not less charmed with her sentiments
than with her discourse; and the philosophic equipage was thrown into
disorder. Mirzoza return'd the black petticoats to her women, sent
my lord Seneschal his enormous peruke, and to _Monsieur l'Abbé_ his
square cap, with assurances that he should be on the list at the next
nomination. What would he not have attained, if he had been a genius?
A seat in the academy was the least reward that he could expect: but
unluckily he knew but two or three hundred words, and had never been
able from that stock, to compass the composing of two _Ritournelles_.



CHAP. XXVII.

_Sequel of the preceding conversation._


Mangogul was the only person that had given attention to Mirzoza's
philosophic lecture without interrupting her; and as he was pretty much
inclined to contradict, she was astonish'd at it. "Does the Sultan
allow my system from beginning to end?" said she within herself. "No,
that is not probable: has he found it too bad to deign to attack it?
that may be. My notions are not the most just that have been broach'd
to this day; I grant it: but neither are they the most false; and I am
apt to think that worse have been invented."

In order to clear up this doubt, the favorite resolved to ask some
questions of Mangogul. "Well, prince," said she, "what are your
thoughts of my system?" "It is admirable," answered the Sultan; "I find
but one defect in it." "What defect is that?" replied the favorite.
"It is," said Mangogul, "that it is as false as false can be. Pursuant
to your notions, we must all be endowed with souls: now observe, my
soul's delight, that there is not common sense in this supposition. I
have a soul: there is an animal that acts most part of the time as if
he had none; and perhaps in reality he has none, even while he acts as
if he had one. But he has a nose made like mine; I feel that I have a
soul, and that I think: therefore that animal has a soul, and thinks
likewise. This argument has been made use of above a thousand years,
and it has been impertinent full as long."

"I own," said the favorite, "that it is not always evident that others
think." "And add," replied Mangogul, "that it is evident on an hundred
occasions that they do not think." "But in my opinion," says Mirzoza,
"it would be going a great length, to infer from thence, that they
never have or ever will think. A person is not always a beast, for
having been so sometimes; and your highness----"

Mirzoza, fearing to offend the Sultan, stopt short. "Continue, madam,"
said Mangogul, "I understand you; would you not have said, has my
highness never acted the beast? I answer you, that I have now and then,
and that even I excused others for taking me for such: for you may
easily imagine, that they did not fail so to do, tho' they dared not to
speak out."----"Ah! prince," cried the favorite, "if men refused a soul
to the greatest monarch upon earth, to whom could they allow one?"

"Pray, forbear compliments," says Mangogul. "I have for a moment laid
down the crown and scepter. I have ceased to be Sultan, in order to
be a philosopher, and I can hear and speak the truth. I believe I
have given you proofs of the one; and you have hinted to me, without
offending me, and quite at your ease, that I have been sometimes no
better than a beast. Permit me thoroughly to fulfil the duties of my
new character.

"Far from agreeing with you," continued he, "that every creature
that has legs, arms, hands, eyes and ears as I have, possesses a soul
like me; I declare to you, that I am absolutely perswaded, that three
fourths of the men and all the women are but mere machines."

"There may possibly be as much truth," answered the favorite, "as
politeness in what you say."

"Oh!" says the Sultan, "madam seems to be angry: and why the devil
do you take it into your head to philosophize, if you will not allow
one to speak the truth? Is it in the schools that politeness is to be
sought for? I have left you full elbow-room; pray, allow me the same,
if you please. Well, then, I was saying, that ye are all beasts."

"Yes, prince; and this is what remained to be proved," added Mirzoza.

"Nothing more easy," answered the Sultan. Then he set about detailing
all the impertinences which had been said over and over, with as little
wit and delicacy as possible, against a sex which possesses both these
qualities in a sovereign degree. Never was Mirzoza's patience put to a
greater trial; and you would never be so tired in your whole life, as
if I related all Mangogul's reasonings. This prince, who did not want
good sense, was that day absurd beyond all comprehension: of which you
shall be a judge. "It is so true, by Jupiter," said he, "that a woman
is but an animal, that I'll wager, if I turn Cucufa's ring on my mare,
I shall make her speak like a woman."

"Without doubt," answered Mirzoza, "there is the strongest argument
that has ever been, or ever will be made against us." Then she burst
out into a loud fit of laughter. Mangogul, vexed to see no end to
her laughter, went out in a hurry, resolved to try the whimsical
experiment, which occur'd to his imagination.



CHAP. XXVIII.

_Thirteenth trial of the Ring._

The Little Mare.


I am not a great portrait-maker. I have exempted the reader from that
of the favorite Sultana; but I can never condescend to remit him that
of the Sultan's mare. She was of a middling size, and had a pretty
good gait; the chief fault found with her in that regard was, that
she did not bridle her head sufficiently. Her colour was white, with
blue eyes, small hoofs, clean legs, firm hams, and light haunches.
She had been taught to dance for a long time, and she made her bows
like a master of the ceremonies. Upon the whole she was a pretty beast
enough, and remarkably gentle: she was easily mounted, but one must be
an excellent horseman to be able to keep the saddle. She had belong'd
to the senator Aaron: but on a fine evening the skittish creature
took fright, threw the judge, and ran full speed to the Sultan's
studs, carrying with her the saddle, bridle, furniture, housings and
caparisons of value; which became her so well, that it was not thought
proper to send them back.

Mangogul went into his stables, accompanied by his first secretary
Ziguezague. "Listen attentively," said he, "and write."----That
very instant he turn'd his ring on the mare, which fell to leaping,
prancing, kicking, bouncing, and neighing under the tail.----"Where
are your thoughts," said the prince to his secretary, "write
then."----"Sultan," replied Ziguezague, "I wait till your highness
begins."----"My mare," says Mangogul, "will dictate to you this once,
write."

Ziguezague, whom this order reduced too low in his own opinion,
assumed the liberty of representing to the Sultan, that he would
always esteem it a high honour to be his secretary, but not that of
his mare. "Write, I tell you," said the Sultan again. "Prince, I
cannot," replied Ziguezague: "I know not the orthography of this sort
of words."----"Write however," said the Sultan once more----"I am
excessively mortified, to be obliged to disobey your highness," added
Ziguezague; "but"----"But you are a scoundrel," interrupted Mangogul,
incensed at a refusal so much out of place; "quit my palace, and never
appear there more."

Poor Ziguezague disappear'd, having learn'd by experience, that a man
of spirit ought not to enter the palaces of most part of the great,
without leaving his sentiments at the gate. His deputy was called. He
was a Provencal, frank, honest, and thoroughly disinterested. He flew
whither he thought his duty and fortune called him, made a low bow to
the Sultan, a lower still to his mare, and wrote every thing that the
beast vouchsafed to dictate.

I must beg leave to refer those, who are curious to know her
discourse, to the archives of Congo. This prince immediately ordered
copies of it to be distributed among all his interpreters and
professors of foreign languages, both ancient and modern. One said,
that it was a scene of some old Greek tragedy, which to him appear'd
very moving; another, by the strength of his genius discovered, that
it was an important fragment of Egyptian theology: a third pretended,
that it was the Exordium of Hannibal's funeral oration in the Punic
language; and a fourth asserted, that the piece was writ in Chinese,
and that it was a very devout prayer to Confucius.

While the Litterati were trying the Sultan's patience with their
learned conjectures, he recollected Gulliver's travels, and made no
doubt, but that a person, who had lived so long as this Englishman,
in an island, where horses have a government, laws, kings, gods,
priests, a religion, temples and altars, and who seemed so perfectly
well instructed in their manners and customs, was a thorough master of
their language. Accordingly Gulliver read and interpreted the mare's
discourse off hand, notwithstanding the orthographical errors, with
which it abounded. Nay, it is the only good translation of it in all
Congo. Mangogul learned for his own private satisfaction, and for the
honour of his system, that it was an historical abridgment of the
amours of an old Pacha of three tails with the little mare, which
had been attack'd by an infinite number of jack-asses before him: a
singular anecdote, the truth of which however was not unknown, either
to the Sultan, or to any other person at court, at Banza, and in the
rest of the empire.



CHAP. XXIX.

_The best perhaps, and the least read of this history._

_Mangogul's dream, or a voyage into the region of hypotheses._


"Waa," says Mangogul, yawning and rubbing his eyes, "my head achs.
Let nobody evermore talk philosophy to me. Such conversations are
unwholsome. Last night I lay on empty ideas; and instead of sleeping
like a Sultan, my brain work'd more than those of my ministers do in
a year. You laugh; but to convince you that I do not exaggerate, and
to take my revenge for the bad night which your reasonings gave me, I
enjoin you the penance of hearing my dream in its full extent.

"As soon as I began to nod, and my imagination to take its flight,
I saw an odd animal bounce by my side. He had the head of an eagle,
the feet of a griffon, the body of a horse, and the tail of a lion. I
seized him, notwithstanding his prancing; and holding by his mane, I
nimbly sprung on his back. Immediately he spread out long wings, which
issued from his flanks, and I felt myself carried in the air with
incredible swiftness.

"After driving a vast way, I espied, in the emptiness of space, a
building suspended as by enchantment. It was a vast one. I will not say
that it was faulty in its foundation; for it had none. Its columns,
which were not half a foot in diameter, ran up out of sight, and
supported arches, which would not have been visible, were it not for
the symmetrical lights made in them.

"At the entrance into this edifice it was that my beast first stop'd.
At first I was in a doubt whether I should alight: for I apprehended
less danger in sitting on my hippogriffon, than in walking under this
portico. However, encouraged by the multitude of its inhabitants, and
by a remarkable security, which was predominant in their countenances,
I alight, go forward, mix with the crowd, and make my observations on
those that composed it.

"They were old men, either bloated or feeble; without _Embonpoint_ and
strength, and almost all deform'd. The head of one was too little, the
arms of another too short. One was hump-back'd, another bandy-legg'd.
Most of them had no feet, and walk'd on crutches. A breath threw them
down, and they remain'd on the ground, till some new comer was pleased
to lift them up. All these defects notwithstanding, they pleased at
first sight. They had in their physiognomy somewhat engaging and
confident. They were almost naked: for all their cloathing consisted of
a small rag of stuff, which did not cover the hundredth part of their
body.

"I continued to pierce the crowd, and got to the foot of a rostrum, for
which a cobweb served as a canopy. The boldness of this rostrum was of
a piece with that of the building. To me it seemed placed on the point
of a needle, and to support itself there in æquilibrio. I trembled a
hundred times for the person, who was in it. He was an old man, with a
long beard, as wither'd and naked as any of his disciples: he had a cup
full of a subtil fluid before him, into which he dipp'd a straw-pipe;
then put it to his mouth, and blew bubbles to a crowd of spectators
around him, who were using their utmost endeavours to drive them up to
the clouds.

"'Where am I?' said I to myself, all in confusion at these childish
tricks. 'What means this blower of bubbles, and all these decrepit
infants employ'd in making them fly about? Who will let me into the
secret of these things?'--Besides, the little scraps of stuff had
struck me; and I observed that the larger they were, the less those
that wore them interested themselves in the bubbles. This singular
remark embolden'd me to accost him, who was the least undress'd of the
company.

"I saw one, whose shoulders were half covered with pieces so well
fitted together, that the seams were not to be seen. He walk'd forward
and backward in the crowd, with very little concern for what they were
doing. He had an affable air, a smiling mouth, a noble gait, a mild
look; and I went directly to him, and asked him without ceremony: 'Who
are you? Where am I? And who are all these folks?'--He answered, 'I
am Plato. You are in the region of hypotheses, and these folks are
systematics.' 'But by what chance,' replied I, 'is the divine Plato
here, and what does he do among these madmen?'--'Raising recruits,'
said he. 'At a distance from this Portico I have a sanctuary, whither I
conduct those who abandon systems.' 'And how do you employ them?' 'In
knowing man, practising virtue, and sacrificing to the graces'--'These
are noble employments: but what mean these shreds of fluff, whereby you
look more like beggers than philosophers?'--'Oh! what a question do you
propose to me,' said he with a sigh, 'and what thoughts do you bring
back to my mind? This temple was formerly that of philosophy. Alas! how
much this place is changed! The chair of Socrates was here.'--'How,'
said I, interrupting him, 'had Socrates a straw, and did he blow
bubbles?'--'No, no,' replied Plato, 'it was not by such means that
he merited of the Gods the name of the wisest of men. His constant
occupation, during life, was forming heads and hearts. The secret was
lost at his death. Socrates died, and the bright days of philosophy
were no more. These pieces of stuff, which those very systematics think
it an honour to wear, are scraps of his garment. Scarcely had his eyes
been closed, when those, who aspired to the title of philosophers,
seized his robe, and tore it in pieces.' 'I understand,' said I, 'these
pieces served as tickets both to them and their long posterity.'--'Who
will collect these scraps,' continued Plato, 'and restore us Socrates's
robe?

"While he was uttering these words, I saw at a distance a child walking
towards us in a slow but sure pace. He had a little head, slender
body, weak arms and short legs: but all these parts increased in
all dimensions, according as he came forward. In the progress of his
successive growth, he appear'd to me under a hundred different forms;
I saw him directing a long telescope towards the heavens, estimating
the fall of bodies by means of a pendulum, determining the weight of
the air by a tube fill'd with quicksilver, and discomposing light with
a prism. He was now become an enormous Colossus: his head touch'd the
heavens, his feet were lost in the abyss, and his arms reach'd from one
to the other pole. With his right hand he brandished a torch, whose
light spread a vast way in the sky, enlightened even the bottom of the
waters, and penetrated into the entrails of the earth. I ask'd Plato,
what that gigantic figure was, that was coming towards us. 'It is
experience,' said he. Scarcely had he made me this short answer, when I
saw experience draw near, and the columns of the portico of hypotheses
to shake, its arches to sink in, and its pavement to crack under our
feet. 'Let us fly,' said Plato, 'let us fly: this edifice has but a
moment to stand.' At these words he departs, and I follow him. The
Colossus arrives, strikes the portico, it tumbles down with a frightful
noise, and I awake."

"Ah! Prince," cried Mirzoza, "'tis you that ought to dream. I would
indeed be very glad, that you had had a good night: but now that I know
your dream, I should be very sorry that you had not dream'd it."

"Madam," said Mangogul, "I could point out nights better spent than
that of this dream, which gives you so much pleasure; and if I had
been master of making the journey, or not; it is very probable, that,
not hoping to find you in the country of hypotheses, I should have bent
my course elsewhere. And then, either I should not have the head-ach,
which I actually feel, or at least I should have reason to make myself
easy under it."

"Prince," replied Mirzoza, "it is to be hoped, that it will soon go
off; and that one or two experiments of your ring will rid you of
it." "I must try," said Mangogul. The conversation lasted some time
longer between the Sultan and Mirzoza; so that he did not quit her
till eleven, when he went upon the expedition related in the following
chapter.



CHAP. XXX.

_Fourteenth trial of the Ring._

The mute Toy.


Of all the ladies, who shone at the Sultan's court, none had more
charms and wit than young Egle, the wife of his highness's great
cupbearer. She was of all Mangogul's parties, who was much taken with
the chearfulness of her conversation: and as if there could be neither
pleasure nor amusement without Egle, she was also of all the parties
of the grandees of his court. Balls, public diversions, drawing rooms,
feasts, private suppers, hunting matches, play, every where Egle was
invited, and every where she appear'd: it seem'd as if the taste of
amusements multiplied her, according to the will of those who desired
her company. Wherefore it is needless to say, that if no woman was as
much sought after as Egle, there was none so diffused.

She had been always pursued by a crowd of lovers, and people were
persuaded that she had not treated them all with severity. Whether
it were inadvertence, or thorough good nature, her common politeness
frequently resembled premeditated regard: and those who endeavour'd to
gain her, sometimes read affection in her eyes, when she never intended
more than affability. Neither caustic, nor detracting, she never
open'd her mouth but to say pleasing things: which she did with such
spirit and vivacity, that on several occasions, her encomiums raised
a suspicion that she had a choice to justify. Thus it appears, that
those, of whom Egle was the ornament and delight, were unworthy of her.

It was natural to think, that a woman, in whom no fault perhaps was to
be found, but an excess of goodness, ought to have no enemies. Yet she
had some, and very bitter ones. The devouts of Banza found that she had
too free an air, and somewhat too loose in her carriage; saw nothing in
her conduct but a rage of worldly pleasures; inferred thence, that her
morals were equivocal at least, and charitably insinuated this to all
those that would hear them.

The court ladies did not treat Egle with greater tenderness. They
suspected her intimacies, gave her gallants, even honored her with
some great adventures, made her a party concerned in others: they knew
particulars, and quoted witnesses. "Good," whispered they, "she has
been surprized _tête à tête_ with Melraim in one of the groves of the
great park. Egle does not want wit," added they; "but Melraim has too
much good sense to be amused with her speeches alone, at ten at night,
in a grove."--"You are mistaken," said a _Petit-Maitre_, "I have walked
with her a hundred times in the dusk of the evening, and found my
account in it. But _à propos_, do you know that Zulemar is daily at her
toilette?"--"Doubtless, we know it, and that she has no toilette but
when her husband is in waiting at court."----"Poor Celebi," continued
another, "indeed his wife advertises him by the aigrette and diamond
buckles, which she received of the pacha Ismael."----"Is that true,
madam?"----"It is strict truth, I have it from her own mouth: but in
the name of Brama let this go no farther. Egle is my friend, and I
should be very sorry"----"Alas," cried a third sorrowfully, "the poor
little creature ruins herself very chearfully. A great pity truly. But
twenty intrigues at a time, that seems rather too much."

The _Petits-Maitres_ were not more sparing of her. One related a
hunting match, in which she and he lost themselves together. Another,
out of respect for the sex, suppress'd the consequences of a very
smart conversation he held with her at a masquerade, where he met her.
A third made a panegyric on her wit and charms, and ended it by shewing
her portrait, which he declared he had from the best hands. "This
portrait," said a fourth, "is more like her than that, of which she
made a present to Jenaki."

These stories at length came to her husband's ears. Celebi loved his
wife, but still with such decency, that no body had the least suspicion
of it. He repulsed the first reports, but they return'd to the charge
from so many quarters, that he thought his friends more clear-sighted
than himself: and the more liberty he had granted to Egle, the more
he suspected that she had abused it. Jealousy took possession of his
soul. He began by cramping his wife. Egle bore this change of behaviour
with the greater impatience, as she was conscious of her innocence.
Her vivacity and the advices of her female friends, hurried her into
inconsiderate deportment, which made all the appearances turn against
her, and had like to cost her her life. The violent Celebi for some
time rack'd his brain with a thousand projects of revenge, steel,
poison, the fatal noose, &c. and at length resolved on a slower and
more cruel punishment, by confining her to his country seat: which is
death indeed to a court lady. In a word, orders are given: Egle is
inform'd of her destiny: he is insensible to her tears and deaf to her
reasons, and she is banish'd two hundred miles from Banza, to an old
castle, where she is allowed no other company than two maids and four
black eunuchs, who continually watch her.

Scarcely was she set out, when she was innocent. The _Petits-Maitres_
forgot her adventures; the women forgave her her wit and charms, and
all the world bemoaned her. Mangogul was apprized, from Celebi's own
mouth, of his motives for the dreadful resolution he had taken against
his wife, and seem'd to be the only person that approved it.

The wretched Egle had already groaned near six months under her exile,
when Kerfael's adventure happened. Mirzoza wish'd she might prove
innocent, but durst not indulge those flattering hopes. However, she
one day said to the Sultan: "Prince, might not your ring, which has
saved Kerfael's life, put an end to Egle's banishment? But I forget
myself: in order to that, her Toy should be consulted; and the poor
recluse is dying with grief two hundred miles hence."----"You interest
yourself much," answered Mangogul, "in Egle's fate." "Yes Prince," said
Mirzoza; "especially if she is innocent." "You shall have tydings of
this affair within an hour," replied Mangogul. "Do you not remember the
properties of my ring?"----At these words, he went into the garden,
turn'd his ring, and in less than fifteen minutes was in the park of
the castle wherein Egle dwelt.

There he espied Egle alone and overwhelm'd with sorrow: her head was
leaning on her hand, she was tenderly repeating her husband's name,
and with her tears she was watering the green turf, on which she sate.
Mangogul drawing near turn'd his ring on her, and Egle's Toy said in
a mournful strain: "I love Celebi." The Sultan waited for the sequel;
but as it came not, he had recourse to his ring, which he rubb'd two
or three times against his hat, before he levell'd it on Egle: but his
labour was vain. The Toy repeated: "I love Celebi," and stop'd short.
"There is a very discreet Toy," said the Sultan. "Let us try once more,
and ply it closer." Whereupon he gave to his ring all the energy, which
it was capable of receiving, and turn'd it nimbly on Egle: but her Toy
continued mute. It either constantly kept silence, or broke it only by
repeating these plaintive words: "I love Celebi, and have never loved
any other man."

Mangogul, being thoroughly satisfied, returned to Mirzoza in fifteen
minutes. "What, Prince," said she, "return'd already. Well, what have
you learnt? Do you bring fresh matter for our conversations?" "I bring
nothing," answered the Sultan. "What! nothing?"--"Nothing at all. I
never knew a Toy so silent: I could get nothing from it but these
words. 'I love Celebi, I love Celebi, and have never loved any other
man.'" "Ah! Prince," replied Mirzoza with vivacity, "what do you tell
me? What happy news! There is one virtuous woman found at last. Will
you suffer her to remain longer miserable?" "No," answered Mangogul:
"her banishment shall be at an end, but have you no apprehensions that
it may be at the expence of her virtue? Egle is chaste, but consider,
my heart's delight, what you require of me; to re-call her to my court,
in order that she may continue so: however you shall be satisfied."

The Sultan sent for Celebi immediately, and told him; that having made
a strict inquiry into the reports spread abroad concerning Egle, he had
found them false and calumnious, and commanded him to bring her back to
court. Celebi obey'd, and presented his wife to Mangogul: she was going
to throw herself at his highness's feet, but the Sultan stopping her
said: "Madam, thank Mirzoza. Her friendship for you determined me to
clear up the truth of the facts imputed to you. Continue to embellish
my court; but remember that a pretty woman sometimes does herself as
much mischief by acts of imprudence, as by adventures."

The very next day Egle waited on the Manimonbanda, who received her
with a smile. The _Petits-Maitres_ redoubled their insipidities towards
her, and the women all ran to embrace and give her joy, and began again
to tear her in pieces.


End of the First Volume.



CHAP. XXXI.

Was Mangogul in the right?


From the time that Mangogul had received the fatal present of Cucufa,
the ridicules and vices of the sex were become the eternal subject of
his jokes: he was never done with them, and his favorite's patience was
frequently quite tired out. Now, two cruel effects of this teizing on
her, as well as on many others, was to put her into a bad humor, and
to sour her temper. At those times woe to him that came near her: she
made no distinction of persons, and the Sultan himself was not spared.

"Prince," said she to him, in one of these peevish fits, "tho' you are
so knowing in many things, perhaps you do not know the news of the
day."----"What is it?" said Mangogul.----"It is, that every morning
you get by heart three pages of Brantome, or of Ouville: people do not
determine which of these two profound writers you prefer"----"They are
mistaken, madam," answered Mangogul, "'tis Crebillon, that"----"O,
pray don't excuse yourself from that sort of reading," interrupted the
favorite. "The new calumnies that are invented on us, are so insipid,
that it is better to revive the old. Truly there are very good things
in this same Brantome: if to these little stories you add three or
four chapters of Bayle, you alone will in a thrice have as much wit
as the marquiss D'----, and the Chevalier de Mouhi. That would spread
a surprising variety on your conversation. When you have equipped the
ladies from head to foot, you might then fall on the Pagoda's; and from
the Pagoda's you might return on the women. In truth, all that you want
to make you quite diverting, is a small collection of impieties."

"You are in the right, madam," answered Mangogul, "and I will take care
to lay in a good stock. He who is afraid of being duped in this world
and the next, cannot be too much upon his guard against the power of
the Pagoda's, the probity of men, and virtue of women."

"Then, in your opinion, this virtue is a very ambiguous thing?" replied
Mirzoza. "More so than you imagine," answered Mangogul.

"Prince," returned Mirzoza, "you have a hundred times talk'd to me
of your ministers as the honestest men in Congo. I have so often
patiently heard the praises of your Seneschal, of the governors of your
provinces, of your secretaries, of your treasurer, in a word, of all
your officers, that I am able to repeat them by memory word for word.
It is strange, that the object of your tenderness should be the only
person excepted from the good opinion, which you have conceived of
those who have the honor of being near your person."

"And who told you that it is so?" replied the Sultan. "Be perswaded,
madam, that the discourses, true or false, which I make on women, do by
no means concern you, unless you think proper to represent the sex in
general.----"

"I should not advise madam to that," added Selim, who was present at
this conversation. "She would gain nothing by it but defects."

"I do not," answered Mirzoza, "relish compliments which are addressed
to me at the expence of my sex. When any one takes it into his head to
praise me, I could wish that nobody suffered by it. Most of the fine
speeches which are offered to us, are like the sumptuous entertainments
which your highness receives from your Pacha's: they are always at the
expence of the public."

"Let us pass that by," said Mangogul. "But sincerely, are you not
convinced that the virtue of the women of Congo is but a mere chimæra?
Pray observe, my soul's delight, what the present fashionable education
is, what examples mothers set to their daughters, and how the head
of a pretty woman is filled with the notion, that to confine herself
to domestic affairs, to manage her family, and keep to her husband,
is to lead a dismal life, to be eat up with vapors, and to bury
herself alive. And at the same time we men are so forward, and a young
unexperienced girl is so raptured with being attack'd. I have said that
virtuous women were rare, excessively rare; and far from changing my
sentiment, I might add freely, that 'tis surprizing they are not more
so. Ask Selim what he thinks of the matter."

"Prince," answered Mirzoza, "Selim has too great obligations to our
sex, to tear them in pieces without mercy."

"Madam," said Selim, "his highness, who could not possibly meet with
cruel women, ought naturally to think of the sex as he does: and you,
who have the good nature to judge of others by yourself, can hardly
have any other sentiments than those which you defend. I will own
however, that I am apt to believe there are women of sense, to whom
the benefits of virtue are known by experience, and whom a serious
reflection has convinced of the ill consequences of an irregular life;
women happily born, well educated, who have learn'd to feel their duty,
who love it, and will never swerve from it."

"And not to lose ourselves in speculative reasoning," added the
favorite, "is not Egle, with all her sprightliness and charms, a
model of virtue? Prince, you cannot doubt it, and all Banza knows it
from your mouth: now, if there be one virtuous woman, there may be a
thousand."

"Oh! as to the possibility," said Mangogul, "I dispute it not."

"But if you allow it possible," replied Mirzoza, "who has revealed to
you, that they do not actually exist?"

"Nothing but their Toys," answered the Sultan. "And yet I grant that
this evidence does not come up to the strength of your argument. May
I be transform'd into a mole, if you have not borrowed it from some
Bramin. Order the Manimonbanda's chaplain to be called, and he will
tell you that you have proved the existence of virtuous women, much
as he demonstrates that of Brama, in Braminology. _A propos_, have
you not taken a course in that sublime school, before you entered the
Seraglio?"

"No ill-natured jokes," replied Mirzoza. "I do not draw my conclusion
from possibility: I ground it on a fact, on an experiment."

"Yes," continued Mangogul, "on a lame fact, on a single experiment;
while, to your certain knowledge, I have a multitude of trials for my
opinion: but I will not sour your temper by farther contradictions."

"It is a favor," said Mirzoza, "that after two hours teizing, you cease
to persecute me."

"If I have committed the fault," answered Mangogul, "I will endeavour
to make amends for it. Madam, I give up all my past advantages; and if,
in the trials which I shall hereafter make, I light on a single woman
really and constantly virtuous."----"What will you do?" interrupted
Mirzoza smartly.

"I will declare to the world, if you require it, that I am charmed with
your reasoning on the possibility of virtuous women; I will support the
reputation of your logic with all my might; and will give you my castle
of Amara, with all the Saxon Porcelaines which adorn it; even without
excepting the little Sapajou, or red-faced monkey in Enamel, and the
other valuable nick-nacks, which I had out of the cabinet of Madame de
Verue."

"Prince," says Mirzoza, "I will be content with the Porcelaines of the
castle, and the little monkey."

"A bargain," replies the Sultan, "Selim shall be our judge. I only
desire a little respite before I examine Egle's Toy. The court air,
and her husband's jealousy, must be allowed time to operate."

Mirzoza granted a month to Mangogul; which was double the time he
required: and they parted equally filled with hope.

The city of Banza also would have been full of wagers on either side,
if the Sultan's promise had been divulged. But Selim kept the secret,
and Mangogul clandestinely prepared for winning or losing. As he was
quitting the favorite's appartment, he heard her call out to him from
her closet: "Prince, and the little monkey." "And the little monkey,"
answered Mangogul, and went out. He was going directly to the private
lodge of a senator, whither we will attend him.



CHAP. XXXII.

_The fifteenth trial of the Ring._

Alphana.


The Sultan was not ignorant, that the young lords of the court had
private lodges; but he was lately informed, that those retreats were
likewise used by some senators. He was much surprized at this. "What
do they do there?" said he to himself. (For in this volume he will
keep up the custom of monology, which he contracted in the first.) "I
should think, that a man, whom I have entrusted with the tranquillity,
fortune, liberty, and lives of my people, ought not to have a private
lodge. But perhaps a senator's private lodge is quite different from
that of a _Petit-Maitre_. Can a magistrate, before whom the interests
of the greatest of my subjects are discussed, who holds the fatal urn,
out of which he is to draw the widow's lot, can he, I say, forget
the dignity of his state, and the importance of his duty; and while
Cochin fatigues his lungs in vain by carrying the cries of the orphan
to his ear, can he be studying subjects of gallantry, which are to be
ornaments over the door of a place of secret debauchery? That cannot
be.----However, let us see."

He said, and departed for Alcanto, where the senator Hippomanes has his
private lodge. He enters, walks round the appartments, and examines
the furniture. Every thing has a gay appearance. The private lodge of
Agefilas, the nicest and most voluptuous of his courtiers, is not more
elegant. He was on the point of resolving to leave it, without knowing
what to think; (for besides all the rich beds, the looking-glass
alcoves, the soft sofa's; the cabinet of exquisite liquors, and every
thing else, were silent witnesses of what he desired to know:) when
he espied a corpulent figure stretched on a couch, and sunk in a deep
sleep. He turn'd his ring on her, and from her Toy he obtained the
following anecdotes.

"Alphana is the daughter of a senator. If her mother's life had been
shorter than it was, I should not have been here. The immense wealth
of the family was squandered by the old fool: and she left little or
nothing to her four children, three boys and a girl, whose Toy I am,
alas! to my great misfortune, and to be sure for my sins. How many
indignities have I suffered! How many more still remain to be borne!
The world said, that the cloister agreed very well with the fortune and
figure of my mistress; but I found it did not suit with me: I preferred
the military art to the monastic state, and I made my first campaigns
under the Emir Azalaph. I perfected myself under the great Nangazaki.
But the ingratitude of the service disgusted me, and made me quit the
sword for the gown. Thus I am upon the point of belonging to a little
scoundrel of a senator, quite bloated with his talents, his wit, his
figure, his equipage, and his birth. I am now two hours in waiting for
him. To be sure he will come, because his gentleman has apprized me,
that when he comes, it is his madness to let people wait a long time."

Alphana's Toy was thus far advanced, when Hippomanes arrived. At the
bustle of his train, and the caresses he bestowed on his favorite
grey-hound, Alphana awoke. "Oh! are you there, my queen?" says the
little president. "'Tis very difficult to come at you. How do you like
my little lodge; it is as good as some others, is it not?"

Alphana putting on a bashful, shy, distressed air, "as if we had never
seen a private lodge before," says her Toy, "and as if I had no share
in her adventures," cried out in a mournful manner. "My lord president,
I take an unaccountable step for you. The passion that drags me to you
must surely be very violent, since it shuts my eyes to the dangers
which I incur. For what would the world say, if there was any suspicion
of my being here?"

"You are right," answered Hippomanes; "your proceeding is liable to
misinterpretations. But you may rely on my discretion."

"But," replied Alphana, "I rely also on your conduct."

"Oh! as to that," says Hippomanes, "I shall be very modest: and how
is it possible not to be as devote as an angel in a private lodge? In
truth, you have a charming neck----"

"Ha' done," says Alphana, "you break your word already."

"Not at all," replies the president: "but you have not answered my
question. What do you think of this furniture?" And then turning to his
grey-hound, "come hither, Folly, give me thy paw, my child. Folly is a
good girl.----Will madam be pleased to take a turn in the garden? Let
us walk on my terrass, it is a charming one. I am overlooked by some
of my neighbours, but possibly they will not know you.--"

"My lord president, I am not curious," says Alphana with an air of
dudgeon. "I think we are better here."

"Just as you please," answers Hippomanes. "If you are tired, there is a
bed. If you have the least inclination, I advise you to try it. Young
Asteria, and little Phenice, who are great judges, assure me that it
is a good one." While Hippomanes was talking thus impertinently to
Alphana, he pull'd off her gown by the sleeves, unlaced her stays,
untied her petticoats, and disengaged her two clumsy feet from two
little slippers.

When Alphana was almost naked, then did she perceive that Hippomanes
was undressing her.--"What are you doing?" cryed she quite surprized.
"President, you don't consider. I shall be angry in earnest."

"Ah, my queen," answered Hippomanes, "to be angry with a man who loves
you as I do, would be such an oddity as you are not capable of. May I
presume to entreat you to walk to this bed?"

"To this bed," replied Alphana. "Ah! my lord president, you abuse my
tenderness. I to go into a bed! I, into a bed!"

"No, no, my queen," answered Hippomanes. "That is not the thing, who
desires you to go to it. But you must, if you please, suffer yourself
to be conducted to it: for you may easily conclude from your size,
that I cannot be in the humor of carrying you to it."--Nevertheless he
grasped her about the waist, and making some efforts, "Oh how weighty
she is," says he. "But, my child, if you do not lend a helping hand,
we shall never reach it."

Alphana was sensible that he spoke truth, lent her assistance,
compassed getting on her legs, advanced towards that bed, at which she
had been so scared, partly on her own feet, and partly on the shoulders
of Hippomanes, to whom she pantingly said: "Surely I must have been
a great fool to come hither. I confided in your good conduct, and
your extravagance is quite unreasonable."--"Not at all," answered the
president, "not at all. You see that what I do is decent, very decent."

'Tis probable that they said many other genteel things of this sort;
but as the Sultan did not think proper to spend more time in attending
their conversation, those things are lost to posterity. What a pity!



CHAP. XXXIII.

_Sixteenth trial of the Ring._

The _Petits-Maitres._


Twice a week the favorite kept a drawing room. The preceding evening
she named the women whom she would willingly see, and the Sultan
gave the list of the men. The company always came richly dress'd.
The conversation was either general, or particular. When the amorous
history of the court fail'd of furnishing real diverting adventures,
stories were invented, and necessity sometimes compelled them to
run into bad tales; which were called a continuation of the Arabian
nights entertainments. The men had the privilege of saying all the
extravagant things that came into their heads, and the women that of
knotting, while they gave ear to them. At these meetings, the Sultan
and his favorite put themselves on a level with their subjects: their
presence gave no sort of check to whatever could amuse; and people
seldom found the time tedious. Mangogul had learned early in his life,
that pleasures are not to be found above the foot of the throne; and no
man descended from it with better grace, or knew how to put off majesty
more _à propos_.

While he was surveying the private lodge of the Senator Hippomanes,
Mirzoza waited for him in the rose-colour'd salon, with the youthful
Zaide, the chearful Leocris, the lively Serica, Amina and Benzaira,
the wives of two Emirs, Orphisa the prude, and Vetula the great
Seneschal's lady, temporal mother of all the Bramins. It was not
long before he appeared. He enter'd attended by count Hannetillon
and the chevalier Fadaes. Alciphenor an old rake, and his disciple
young Marmolin followed him; and two minutes after, arrived the Pacha
Grifgrif, the Aga Fortimbek, and the Selictar Velvet-Paw. These were
the most absolute _Petits-Maitres_ of the court. Mangogul call'd them
together designedly. Having heard a thousand stories of their gallant
exploits, he resolved to be informed in such a manner as might banish
all future doubt. "Well, gentlemen," says he to them, "ye whom nothing
escapes, that passes in the empire of gallantry, what news from thence?
how far are the Speaking Toys got."

"Sir," replied Alciphenor, "the racket they make encreases daily; and
if it continues, we shall soon not be able to hear ourselves. But
nothing is so diverting as the indiscretion of Zobeida's Toy. It has
given her husband a catalogue of her adventures." "And a prodigious
one," says Marmolin: "it mentions five aga's, twenty captains, almost
an entire company of janissaries, twelve Bramins: and they say that I
am named too, but that is a mere joke." "The best past of the affair
is," added Grifgrif, "that the affrighted husband ran away with his
fingers in his ears."

"This is quite horrible," said Mirzoza. "Yes, madam," interrupted
Fortimbek, "horrible, frightful, execrable." "More than all that, if
you please," replied the favorite, "to dishonor a woman upon hearsay."

"Madam, it is literally true, Marmolin has not added one word to the
story," says Velvet-Paw. "It is fact," says Grifgrif. "Good," says
Hannetillon, "there is an epigram already handed about concerning it,
and an epigram is not made for nothing." "But why should Marmolin
be safe from the prattle of the Toys? Cynara's Toy has insisted
on speaking in its turn, and to blend me with people, who do not
stake their all. But how to help that? The right thing is not, to
be disturbed at it," says Velvet-Paw. "You are right," answered
Hannetillon, and instantly fell to singing:

    "Mon bonheur fut si grand, que j'ai peine à le croire."

    My fortune was so great, that I can scarce believe it.

"Count," says Mangogul to Hannetillon, "then you have been particularly
acquainted with Cynara?"

"Sir," answered Velvet-Paw, "who doubts, it? He has walk'd with her
for more moons than one? they have been song'd; and all this would
have lasted to this day, if he had not at length discovered that she
was not handsome, and that she had a large mouth." "Allowed," replied
Hannetillon; "but that imperfection was ballanced by an uncommon
agreeableness."

"How long since this adventure?" ask'd the prude Orphisa. "Madam,"
replied Hannetillon, "its epoch is not present to my memory. I must
have recourse to the chronological tables of my good fortune. There
may be seen the day and minute: but 'tis a large volume, with which my
servants amuse themselves in the antichamber."

"Hold," says Alciphenor; "I recollect that it was precisely a year
after Grifgrif fell out with Madam la Seneschale. She has the memory
of an angel, and can tell you exactly."--"That nothing is more false
than your date," answered the Seneschal's lady gravely. "'Tis well
known that blockheads were never of my taste." "Yet, madam," replied
Alciphenor, "you will never persuade us, that Marmolin was excessively
wise, when he was conducted into your appartment by the back stairs,
whenever his highness summoned the Seneschal to council." "There can
be no greater extravagance in my opinion," added Velvet-Paw, "than to
enter into a woman's chamber by stealth, for nothing at all; for people
thought nothing more of his visits than what was really fact, and madam
was already in full enjoyment of that reputation of virtue, which she
has so well supported since that time."

"But that is an age ago," says Fadaes. "It was pretty much about that
same time that Zulica made a slip from the Selictar, who was her
humble servant, to take possession of Grifgrif, whom she drop'd six
months after; she is now got as far as Fortimbek. I am not sorry for
my friend's little stroke of good luck; I see her, I admire her, but
entirely without any pretensions."

"Yet Zulica," says the favorite, "is very amiable. She has wit, taste,
and something, I know not how, engaging in her countenance, which I
should prefer to charms." "I grant that, madam," answer'd Fadaes: "but
she is maigre, has no neck, and her thigh is so skinny, that it raises
one's pity."

"You are well acquainted with it, to be sure," added the Sultana. "Oh!
madam," replied Hannetillon, "you may guess that. I have visited Zulica
but seldom, and yet I know as much of that affair as Fadaes." "I can
easily believe you," says the favorite.

"But _à propos_, might one ask Grifgrif," says the Selictar, "if he
has been long in possession of Zirphila. There is what you may call a
pretty woman. She has an admirable shape." "And who doubts it!" added
Marmolin.

"How happy is the Selictar," continued Fadaes. "I give you Fadaes,"
interrupted the Selictar, "for the best provided gallant of the court.
To my knowledge he has the Visir's wife, the two prettiest actresses
of the opera, and an adorable _Grisette_, whom he keeps in his private
lodge." "And I," replied Fadaes, "would give up the Visir's wife,
the two actresses and the _Grisette_, for one glance from a certain
woman, with whom the Selictar is very well, and who has not the least
suspicion that the world knows it;" and then stepping up to Leocris,
says, "your blushes are ravishing.----"

"Hannetillon was a long time wavering," says Marmolin, "between Melissa
and Fatima, two charming women. One day he was for Melissa the fair,
the next for Fatima the nut-brown." "The poor man," continues Fadaes,
"was strangely embarassed: why did he not take them both?" "So he did,"
says Alciphenor.

Our _Petits-Maitres_ were, as you see, in a right cue not to stop
here, when Zobeida, Cynara, Zulica, Melissa, Fatima and Zirphila sent
in their names. This ill-timed circumstance disconcerted them for a
moment; but they soon recover'd from their ruffle, and fell on other
women, whom their detraction had hitherto spared, only because they had
not time to tear them to pieces.

Mirzoza, quite out of patience at their discourses, said: "Gentlemen,
considering the merit and probity in particular, which must needs be
allowed ye, it cannot be doubted but that you have enjoyed all the good
fortunes of which you boast. I must own nevertheless, that I would be
very glad to hear the Toys of these ladies on this head; and that I
would most heartily thank Brama, if he would deign to render justice to
truth by their mouths."

"That is to say," replies Hannetillon, "that madam would desire to hear
the same things twice over: well, to oblige her, we'll repeat them."

But Mangogul set about applying his ring in order of seniority: he
began by Madame la Seneschale, whose Toy cough'd three times, and
with a trembling and broken voice said: "To the great Seneschal I am
indebted for the first fruits of my pleasures: but I had not been his
property above six months, when a young Bramin gave my mistress to
understand, that a woman can do no injury to her husband, while she
thinks on him. I relished the moral, and thenceforward thought I might
with a safe conscience admit a senator, then a privy counsellor, then a
pontif, then one or two masters of Requests, then a musician"----"And
Marmolin?" says Fadaes.----"Marmolin," replies the Toy, "I know him
not, unless it be that young coxcomb, whom my lady ordered to be kick'd
out of her house, for some insolence, the particulars of which I have
forgot.----"

Cynara's Toy took up the discourse, and said: "Do you interrogate me
concerning Alciphenor, Fadaes, and Grifgrif? I have indeed been pretty
well served; but this is the first time that I ever heard these folks
named. However, I shall get some account of them from Amalek the Emir,
Telenor the Financier, or the Visir Abdiram, who know the whole world,
and are my good friends."

"Cynara's Toy is discreet," says Hannetillon: "it mentions not Zarafis,
Ahiram, the old Trebister, and the young Mahmoud, who is not made to
be forgotten; nor does it accuse the least Bramin, tho' it has been
running thro' the monasteries these twelve years."

"I have received some visits in my life," says Melissa's Toy, "but not
one from Grifgrif or Fortimbek, and much less still from Hannetillon."

"My little heart of a Toy," replied Grifgrif, "you are mistaken. You
may disclaim Fortimbek and me, but as to Hannetillon, he is better with
you than you allow. He has told me a word or two on the subject, and
he is a spark of the greatest veracity in Congo, a better man than any
of those whom you have known, and is still capable of establishing the
reputation of a Toy."

"The reputation of an impostor can no more escape him than his friend
Fadaes," says Fatima's Toy with a sob. "What have I done to these
monsters to dishonour me? The son of the Abyssinian Emperor came to
Erguebzed's court: I pleased him; he pursued me; but he would have
fail'd of success, and I should have continued faithful to my husband
whom I loved; had not the traitor Velvet-Paw and his base accomplice
Fadaes corrupted my women, and introduced the young prince into my
bath."

The Toys of Zirphila and Zulica, who had the same cause to defend,
spoke both at the same time, but with such rapidity, that it was
extremely difficult to render each of them its due.--"Favors!" cried
one----"To Velvet-Paw!" says the other----"Something may be said for
Zinzim"----"Cerbelon"----"Bemengel"----"Agarias"----"the French slave
Riqueli"----"the young Ethiopian Thezaca"----"But as for the insipid
Velvet-Paw"----"the insolent Fadaes"----"I swear by Brama"----"I call
the great Pagoda and the Genius Cucufa to witness"----"I know them
not"----"I never had the least dealings with them.----"

Zirphila and Zulica would have run on, God knows how far, if Mangogul
had not turn'd off his ring: but as this magic ring ceased acting on
them, their Toys closed their lips, and a profound silence succeeded
the noise they made. Then the Sultan rose up, and darting furious looks
on our young blockheads, said: "You have taken the liberty to defame
women whom you never had the honour of coming near, and who hardly know
your names. Who has made ye insolent enough to lie in my presence?
Tremble, wretches." At these words he grasped his cymeter: but the
screams of the affrighted ladies stop'd his hand. "I was going," says
Mangogul, "to give ye the death which you have merited: but the ladies,
whom you have injured, have a right to determine your fate: it shall
depend on them, either to crush ye, or to let ye live. Speak, ladies,
what are your commands?"

"That they live," says Mirzoza, "and hold their tongues, if possible."

"Live," replies the Sultan, "these ladies permit it: but if ever you
forget on what condition, I swear by my father's soul----"

Mangogul did not complete his oath; being interrupted by one of the
gentlemen of his bed-chamber, who inform'd him that the comedians were
ready. This prince had imposed it on himself as a law never to retard
the public diversions. "Let them begin," says he, and immediately gave
his hand to the favorite, whom he accompanied to her box.



CHAP. XXXIV.

_Seventeenth trial of the Ring._

The Comedy.


Had the taste of good declamation been known in Congo, there were some
comedians who might well be spared. Of thirty persons which composed
the band, there was but one great actor, and two tolerable actresses.
The genius of authors was obliged to comply with the mediocrity of the
greatest number; and there was no room to hope, that a play would be
performed with any tolerable success, without taking care to model the
characters on the defects of the comedians. This is what was meant in
my time by the custom of the stage. Formerly the actors were made for
the pieces; but now the pieces were made for the actors. If you offer'd
a new play, to be sure it underwent an examination, to know whether
the subject was engaging, the intrigue well connected, the characters
supported, and the diction pure and flowing: but if there were no parts
for Roscius and Amiana, it was refused.

The Kislar Agasi, superintendant of the Sultan's pleasures, had packed
a company of players together, as he could find them; and this was the
first representation of a new tragedy at the Seraglio. It was composed
by a modern author, who had gain'd such reputation, that tho' his piece
had been but a string of impertinences, it would assuredly have met
with a favorable reception. But he did not debase his character. His
work was well written, his scenes conducted with art, his incidents
managed with dexterity, the interest went on increasing, and the
passions in being developed. The acts, naturally link'd together, and
full, constantly held the audience in suspence with regard to the
sequel, and satisfied with what was past: and they were got to the
fourth act of this master-piece, to a very moving scene, which was
a preparation to another still more interesting; when Mangogul, in
order to save himself from the ridicule of listening to the tender
parts, pull'd out his glass, and acting the inattentive, surveyed the
several boxes. In the front box he observed a woman in great emotion,
but of an ill-timed sort, as having no relation to the piece. His
ring was instantly levelled at her, and in the midst of most pathetic
commendations, a Toy, panting for breath, was heard addressing the
player in these terms:

"Ah!----Ah!----Pray stop, Orgogli;----you melt me
excessively----Ah!----Ah!----There's no bearing it.----"

The audience listened, and look'd towards the place whence the voice
proceeded: and the word ran thro' the pit, that it was a Toy that
made the speech. "Which Toy," says one, "and what has it said?" And
without waiting for an answer, there was a general clap and cry:
_Encore, encore_. The author, who was behind the scenes, fearing that
this unlucky accident might interrupt the representation of his piece,
foamed with rage, and gave the whole race of Toys to Belzebub. The
noise was great and lasting; and had it not been for the respect due
to the Sultan, the play would have stop'd short at this incident: but
Mangogul made a sign for silence; the actors resumed their parts, and
went thro' the play.

The Sultan, curious to know the consequences of so public a
declaration, caused the Toy that made it, to be observed. Word was soon
brought him, that the player was to go from the stage to Eriphila's
house. He prevented him, thanks to the power of his ring, and was in
this lady's appartment when Orgogli sent in his name.

Eriphila was under arms, that is, in an amorous _deshabillé_, and
wantonly stretch'd on a couch. The comedian entered with a solemn,
haughty, insipid air of a conqueror. With the left hand he waved a
plain hat with a white feather in it, and caressed his nostrils and
upper lip with the tops of the fingers of his right hand, a very
theatrical gesture, which was admired by Connoisseurs. His bow was
cavalier, and his compliment familiar. "Oh! my queen," cried he, in an
affected tone, stooping to Eriphila, "what a trim you are in! But do
you know that in that careless garb you are adorable.----"

The tone of this scoundrel shock'd Mangogul. The prince was young,
and might possibly be ignorant of certain customs----"Then you like
me, my dear," answered Eriphila. "To ravishment, I tell you."--"That
gives me great joy. I wish you would repeat that passage which raised
such emotions in me a while ago. That passage----there----yes----it is
that same----How seducing a rogue he is?----But go on; that moves me
strangely."

In pronouncing these words, Eriphila darted such glances on her hero,
as bespoke every thing, and stretch'd out her hand to him, which the
impertinent Orgogli kissed by way of acquittance. Prouder of his talent
than of his conquest, he declaimed with emphasis, and the lady was so
enraptur'd, that one minute she conjur'd him to continue, and the next
to stop. Mangogul judging by her looks, that her Toy would willingly
play its part in this rehearsal, chose rather to guess at the rest of
the scene, than to be present at it. He disappear'd, and return'd to
the favorite, who expected him.

On the recital which the Sultan made her of this adventure,----"Prince,
what do you say?" cried she. "Then the women are fallen into the lowest
degree of meanness! A comedian, the slave of the public! A buffoon!
Well, if those folks had nothing against them but their state of life:
but most of them have neither morals nor sentiments; and even among
them, that Orgogli is but a machine. He has never thought, and if
he had not learn'd some parts in plays, perhaps he would never have
spoken.----"

"Delight of my heart," replied Mangogul, "you run into lamentations
without considering the matter sufficiently. Then have you forgot
Haria's pack? By Jove, a comedian, I think, is as good as a pug-dog."

"You say right, prince," resumed the favorite. "I am a fool for
interesting myself for creatures that do not deserve it. Let Palabria
idolize her boobies! Let Salica have her vapors treated by Farfadi
in her own way! Let Haria live and dye among her dogs! Let Eriphila
abandon herself to all the buffoons of Congo! What is all this to me?
I only risque a castle thereby. Nay, I perceive that I must have no
thoughts of it, and I have taken my resolution accordingly."

"Farewell then the little monkey," says Mangogul.

"Farewell the little monkey," replies Mirzoza; "and the good opinion
which I had conceived of my sex; I believe I shall never resume it.
Prince, you will allow me not to suffer a women to enter these doors
this fortnight at least."

"But you must have some company," added the Sultan.

"I shall enjoy your company, or please myself in expecting it," replied
the favourite: "and if any moments remain on my hands, I shall dispose
of them in favor of Ricaric and Selim, who are attached to me, and
whose conversation I love. When I happen to be tired of the erudition
of my lecturer, your courtier will divert me with the adventures of his
youth."



CHAP. XXXV.

_Conversation on literature._


The favorite loved men of genius, without pretending to be a genius
herself. On her toilette, among jewels and other female ornaments,
the novels and pamphlets of the time were to be met with, and she
talk'd of them wonderfully well. From a Cavagnol and Biribi she passed
with ease and propriety to the course of an academician, or other
learned man: and every body confessed, that the natural delicacy of
her understanding made her discover beauties or defects in those
several works, which had sometimes escaped their lucubrations. Mirzoza
astonished them by her penetration, embarrassed them by her questions;
but never abused the advantages which her wit and beauty gave her: and
people were not sorry for being detected in the wrong by her. Towards
the close of an evening, which she had passed with Mangogul, Selim
came, and she sent for Ricaric. The African author has reserved Selim's
character for another place: but he informs us here, that Ricaric was
a member of the academy of Congo; that his erudition had not hindered
him from being a man of wit; that he had acquired a profound knowledge
of former ages; that he had a scrupulous attachment to the ancient
rules which he cited eternally; that he was a machine by principles;
and that it was impossible to be a more zealous partisan of the first
writers of Congo; but more especially of one Miroufla, who, about 3040
years before, had composed a sublime poem in the Caffrian language, on
the conquest of a great forest, out of which the Caffres expelled the
monkeys, who were in possession of it from time immemorial. Ricaric
had translated it into Congese, and published a very beautiful edition
of it, illustrated with notes, Scholia, various readings, and all the
embellishments of a Benedictine edition. Besides, they had of him
two bad tragedies writ according to all the rules, a panegyric on
crocodiles, and some opera's.

"I bring you, madam," says Ricaric with a low bow, "a novel, which is
ascribed to the marchioness Tamazi; but in which we unluckily discover
the hand of Mulhazen, the answer of our president Lambadago to the
discourse of the poet Tuxigraphus, which we received yesterday; and
the Tamerlan of this last."

"This is admirable!" says Mangogul. "The press goes on incessantly; and
if the husbands of Congo performed their duty as well as the writers,
in less than ten years I might be enabled to set sixteen hundred
thousand men on foot, and promise myself the conquest of Monoémugi. We
will read the novel at leisure. Now let us see the harangue, especially
that part which relates to me."

Ricaric turn'd it over, and light on this passage. "The ancestors of
our august emperor have rendered themselves illustrious without doubt.
But Mangogul, greater than they, has prepared quite different subjects
of admiration for future ages. What do I say of admiration? Let us
speak more accurately; of incredulity. If our ancestors had cause to
assert, that posterity would esteem as fables the wonders of Kanaglou's
reign; how much more reason have we to think, that our descendants will
refuse credit to the prodigies of wisdom and valor, of which we are
witnesses?"

"My poor Mr. Lambadago," says the Sultan, "you are but retailer of
phrases. What I have reason to believe, is that your successors will
one day eclipse my glory by that of my son, as you make my father's
vanish before mine; and so on, as long as there will be one academician
left. What think you, Mr. Ricaric?"

"Prince, all that I can say," answered Ricaric, "is, that the passage
which I have read to your highness, was extremely relished by the
public."

"So much the worse," replied Mangogul. "Then the true taste of
eloquence is lost in Congo? It was not thus that the sublime Homilogo
praised the great Aben."

"Prince," said Ricaric, "true eloquence is nothing but the art of
speaking in a noble, and at the same time agreeable and perswasive
manner."

"Add, and sensible," continued the Sultan, "and upon this principle
judge your friend Lambadago. With all the respect that I have for
modern eloquence, he is but a false declaimer."

"But, prince," answered Ricaric, "without passing the bounds of that,
which I owe your highness, will you permit me----"

"What I give you full permission to do," replied Mangogul smartly, "is
to respect good sense beyond my highness, and to tell me sincerely, if
an eloquent man can ever dispense himself from shewing some signs of
it."

"No, prince," answered Ricaric, and he was going to string up a long
bead-roll of authorities, and cite all the rhetoricians of Afric, the
two Arabia's, and China, in order to prove the most incontestable thing
in the world, when he was interrupted by Selim.

"All your authors," said the courtier, "will never prove that Lambadago
is not a very awkward and indecent haranguer. Pray, Mr. Ricaric, excuse
these expressions. I honour you in a singular manner; but indeed,
laying aside the prejudice of confraternity, can you avoid allowing
with us, that, as the Sultan now reigning is just, amiable, beneficent,
and a great warrior, he does not stand in need of the embroidery of
your rhetoricians, to be as great as his ancestors; and that a son, who
is exalted by depressing his father and grandfather, would be very
ridiculously vain, if he were not sensible, that in embellishing him
with one hand, he is disfigured by the other. In order to prove that
Mangogul is as well-made a man as any of his predecessors, do you think
it necessary to knock off the heads of the statues of Erguebzed and
Kanaglou?"

"Mr. Ricaric," says Mirzoza, "Selim is in the right. Let every one
enjoy what belongs to him, and let us not make the public suspect, that
our panegyrics are a sort of robberies committed on the memory of our
fathers: declare this from me in the next full meeting of the academy."

"People are too long in possession of this custom," replied Selim, "to
expect any benefit from this advice."

"I believe, Sir, that you are mistaken," said Ricaric to Selim. "The
academy is still the sanctuary of good taste; and its best times do
not afford us either philosophers or poets, whom we cannot match at
this day. Our stage has passed, and may still pass for the first stage
of Africa. Oh! what a work is the Tamerlane of Tuxigraphus! 'Tis the
pathetic of Eurisope, and the loftiness of Azopha. 'Tis antiquity quite
pure."

"I saw," said the favorite, "the first representation of Tamerlane;
and join with you in thinking the work well conducted, the dialogue
elegant, and the propriety of characters well observed."

"What difference, madam," interrupted Ricaric, "between such an author
as Tuxigraphus, fatted with the perusal of the ancients, and most part
of our moderns."

"Yet these moderns," said Selim, "whom you demolish here at your ease,
are not so contemptible as you pretend. What, don't you find genius,
invention, fire, details, characters, and fine strokes of wit in them?
And of what importance are rules to me, provided a writer pleases me?
Certainly it is neither the observations of the wise Almudir and the
learned Abaldok, nor the art of poetry of the deep-read Facardin, which
I have never perused, that makes me admire the pieces of Aboulcazem,
Muhardar, Albaboukre, and many other Sarracens! Is there any other rule
but the imitation of nature; and have we not as good eyes as those who
studied her?"

"Nature," answered Ricaric, "presents us with different faces every
instant. They are all true, but all are not equally beautiful. It is
in these works, on which you seem not to set any great value, that we
should learn to choose. They are collections of their own experiments,
and also of those which had been made before them. Whatever
strength of understanding a person may have, things must be observed
successively; and one man cannot hope to see in the short course of
his life, all that had been discovered to his time. Otherwise we may
assert, that any one science might owe its birth, progress, and utmost
perfection to one head: which is contrary to experience."

"Mr. Ricaric," replied Selim, "the only consequence that I can draw
from your argument is, that as the moderns are in possession of
treasures amassed up to their times, they must be richer than the
ancients; or, if this comparison displeases you, that as they are
raised on the shoulders of those giants, they ought to see farther than
them. And in fact, what is their natural philosophy, their astronomy,
their navigation, their mechanics, their calculations, in comparison
of ours? And why may not our eloquence and poesy have the superiority
likewise?"

"Selim," said the Sultana, "Ricaric will, at some proper time, give you
the reasons of this difference. He will tell you why our tragedy is
inferior to that of the ancients: for my part, I willingly undertake
to shew you, that it is so. I will not accuse you," continued she, "of
not having read the ancients. Your mind is too well adorned, to be
ignorant of their stage. Now, abstracting from certain notions relative
to their customs, manners and religion, which shock you purely because
circumstances are changed; you will allow that their subjects are
noble, well-chosen, and interesting; that the action naturally develops
itself; that their dialogue is simple, and very near nature; that the
unravelling of their plot is not strained; that the interest is not
divided, nor the action overloaded with episodes. Transport yourself in
idea to the isle of Alindala; examine every thing that passes there;
attend to all that is said, from the moment that young Ibrahim and
the crafty Forfanti landed thereon: approach the cave of the wretched
Polipsile; lose not a word of her complaints; and then tell me, if any
one circumstance draws you out of the illusion. Name me a modern piece
that can bear the same examination, and pretend to the same degree of
perfection; and I grant you the victory."

"By Brama," cried the Sultan, yawning, "madam has made an academical
dissertation."

"I do not understand the rules," continued the favorite; "and much
less the learned words, in which they are expressed: but I know that
nothing but the _True_ can please and touch. I also know that the
perfection of a dramatic piece consists in the exact imitation of an
action, so that the spectator, continually deceived, imagines he is
present at the very action. Now, pray, is there any thing like this in
the tragedies which you extol to us?

"Do you admire the manner in which they are conducted? It is generally
so complicated, that it must be a miracle, that so many things should
happen in so little time. The ruin or preservation of an empire, the
marriage of a princess, the loss of a prince; all this is done with
the turn of a hand. Is the subject a conspiracy? It is sketch'd out
in the first act; it is connected and strengthened in the second; all
the measures are taken, the obstacles removed, the conspirators are
quite ready for action in the third; immediately there shall be a
revolt, an engagement, perhaps a pitch'd battle; and you will call this
conduct, interest, fire, verisimilitude: I can never excuse it, in you
especially, who are not ignorant, what it sometimes costs to put an end
to a pitiful intrigue; and how much time the smallest political affair
absorbs in taking measures, in previous meetings, and in deliberations."

"I grant, madam," answered Selim, "that our pieces are a little
overcharged; but it is a necessary evil: without the assistance of
episodes, the audience would be chill'd."

"That is to say, that in order to give spirit to the representation of
a fact, it must be made such as it neither is, nor ought to be. This
is ridiculous in the highest degree; unless it be still more absurd
to make the violins play up rigadoons and country-dances, while the
audience are in deep concern for a prince, who is on the point of
losing his mistress, his throne and his life."

"Madam, you are are in the right," said Mangogul: "the music should be
mournful on those occasions; and I go to order you some of that kind."
Mangogul rose up, went out, and the conversation was continued between
Selim, Ricaric, and the favorite.

"At least, madam," replied Selim, "you will not deny, that if the
episodes draw us out of the illusion, the dialogue leads us back into
it. I see none who understand it like our tragic writers."

"Then, nobody understands it," resumed Mirzoza. "The emphasis, wit and
affected decorations, which predominate in it, are a thousand leagues
distant from nature. In vain does the author endeavour to conceal
himself, my eyes are penetrating and I discover him incessantly behind
the persons of the drama. Cinna, Sertorius, Maximus, and Æmilius, are
Corneille's speaking trumpets in almost every page. This is not the way
that people converse in our ancient Sarracen authors. Ricaric will, if
you desire it, translate you some scenes out of them; and then you will
hear pure nature speaking by their mouths. I could willingly say to the
moderns: 'Gentlemen, instead of dealing out wit to your personages on
every occasion, put them into such circumstances as must inspire them
with some.'"

"After what madam has declared on the management and the dialogue of
our drama's; there is no great probability," says Selim; "that she
will shew indulgence to the plots."

"No certainly," replied the favorite: "there are a hundred bad for one
good. This is not brought on properly, that is quite miraculous. Is
an author encumbered with a personage, which he has drag'd from scene
to scene thro' five acts, he dispatches him with a stab of a ponyard:
every body falls to crying, and I burst into laughter. Besides, did
mortals ever speak as we declaim? Do kings and princes walk otherwise
than a well-bred man? Have they ever gesticulated like persons
possessed or raging mad? Do princesses speak in a shrill squeaking
tone? It is generally supposed that we have carried tragedy to a
high degree of perfection; and I on the contrary think it is next to
demonstration, that of all the kinds of literary works, to which the
Africans have applied themselves in these latter ages, this is the
most imperfect."

The favorite was advanced thus far in her sally against our theatrical
pieces, when Mangogul returned. "Madam," said he, "you will oblige me
in continuing. You see I have a secret to abridge a poetical subject,
when I find it tedious."

"I suppose," continued the favorite, "a person just arrived from
Angola, who had never heard a play mentioned, but otherwise does not
want good sense and breeding, has some acquaintance with the courts of
princes, the intrigues of courtiers, the jealousies of ministers, and
the double dealings of women; to whom I say in confidence 'My friend,
there are terrible commotions actually in the Seraglio. The prince,
dissatisfied with his son, in whom he suspects a passion for the
Manimonbanda, is a man capable of taking the most cruel vengeance of
them both. This adventure will, in all probability, be attended with
dismal consequences. If you choose it, I will make you an eye-witness
of all that passes.' He accepts my offer, and I carry him into a box
screen'd by a blind, from whence he sees the stage, which he takes for
the Sultan's palace, Do you believe, notwithstanding the serious air
I put on, that this person's illusion can last a moment? Will you not
rather agree with me, that the stiff-affected carriage of the actors,
the oddity of their dress, the extravagance of their gestures, the
emphasis of a singular language in rhyme and cadence, and a thousand
other shocking dissonances, must make him laugh in my face before the
first scene is over, and tell me either that I make game of him, or
that the prince and all his court are mad."

"I own," said Selim, "that this supposition strikes me: but may I not
observe to you, that people go to the play-house, fully perswaded that
they are to see the imitation of an event, and not the event itself."

"And ought that perswasion," replied Mirzoza, "to hinder the players
from representing the event in the most natural manner?"

"All this means, madam," interrupted Mangogul, "that you put yourself
at the head of the censors."

"And if your opinion be received," continued Selim, "the empire is
threatened with the decay of good taste; barbarism will revive, and we
are in danger of relapsing into the ignorance of the ages of Mamurrha
and Orondado."

"My lord, pray have no such apprehensions. I hate peevish humors, and
will not add to their number. Besides, I have the glory of his highness
too much at heart, to think of ever attempting to tarnish the splendor
of his reign. But if credit were given to us, is it not true, Mr.
Ricaric, that literature would shine with greater lustre?"

"How," said Mangogul, "have you not a memorial on this subject to
present to my Seneschal?"

"No, sir," answered Ricaric; "but after having thanked your highness
in behalf of the Literati, for the new inspector, which you have given
them; I would most humbly remonstrate to your Seneschal, that the
choice of learned men appointed to revise manuscripts is an affair
of great nicety: that this trust is committed to persons, who seem
to me very much inferior to their employ; and from thence results a
crowd of evil effects, such as curtailing good works, cramping the
best genius's, who not being at liberty to write in their own way,
either write not at all, or send their productions with considerable
sums to foreigners; giving a bad opinion of those topicks which are
prohibited to be discussed, and a thousand other inconveniencies,
which it would be too tedious to mention to your highness. I would
advise him to retrench the pensions of certain literary leaches, who
are always craving unmercifully; I mean glossators, antiquaries,
commentators, and others of this stamp, who would be very useful,
if they did their business well; but who are got into the wretched
custom of passing over obscure places, and of dwelling upon passages
that admit of no difficulty. I would have him be very attentive to
suppress almost all posthumous works; and not to suffer the memory of
a great author to be tarnished by the covetousness of a bookseller,
who collects and publishes, a long time after a man's death, such
works as he had condemned to oblivion in his lifetime." "And I,"
continued the favorite, "would point out to him a small number of men
of distinguished merit, such as Mr. Ricaric, on whom he may bestow
your benefactions. Is it not somewhat surprising, that the poor man
has no provision made for him, while the precious chiromancer of the
Manimonbanda receives a thousand sequins a year from your treasury."

"Well, madam,", answered Mangogul, "I assign Mr. Ricaric the like sum
on my coffers, in consideration of the wonderful things you tell me of
him."

"Mr. Ricaric," said the favorite, "I also must do something for you:
in your favor I sacrifice the small resentment of my self-love; and
in consideration of the recompence which Mangogul has granted to your
merit, I forget the injury he has done me."

"Pray, madam, may I ask you what that injury is?" replied Mangogul.

"You may, Sir, and I will tell you. You yourself make us embark in a
conversation on the _Belles-Lettres_: you begin by a piece of modern
eloquence, which is not extraordinary; and when, to oblige you, we
prepare to pursue the disagreeable argument which you have started,
you are seized with uneasiness and yawning, you teize yourself in your
seat, you change your posture a hundred times, without finding one
easy one: tired in fine of keeping your countenance, tho' a sad one,
you come to a sudden resolution, you get up and disappear: and then,
whither do you go? Perhaps to give ear to a Toy!"

"I own the fact, madam, but I see nothing in it that should give
offence. If a man happens to be disgusted at fine things, and amuse
himself with hearing bad, so much the worse for him. This unjust
preference takes nothing from the merit of what he has quitted: he only
declares himself a bad judge. To this I could add, madam, that while
you were labouring hard at Selim's conversion, I was working with no
better success to procure you a castle. In fine, if I must be culpable,
since you have pronounc'd me so, I can assure you that you have had
your revenge at the very time."

"Pray, how that?" said the favorite. "Thus it is," answered the Sultan.
"In order to refresh myself from the fatigue of the academical
sitting which I had undergone, I went to examine some Toys."----"Well,
prince"----"Well, I never heard such insipid creatures as the two
which I light upon."----"This gives me the highest joy," replied the
favorite.----They both fell to talking an unintelligible language. I
have perfectly well retained every thing they said; but let me die, if
I understand a word of it.



CHAP. XXXVI.

_Eighteenth and nineteenth trials of the Ring._

The flatted Spheroïd, and Girgiro the entangled: catch who can.


"That is singular," continued the favorite. "Till this moment, I always
imagined, that the chief fault found with Toys, was their speaking too
plainly." "Oh! madam," replied Mangogul, "these two are not of that
tribe; understand them who can.

"You know that little crumpling of woman, whose head is sunk into
her shoulders, whose arms are hardly to be seen, and whose legs are
so short, and her belly so lank, that one might mistake her for a
hedge-hog, for a clumsy ill-develop'd embryo, who bears the the
nick-name of the _flatted Spheroïd_; who has filled her head with a
notion that Brama called her to the study of geometry, because he has
given her the figure of a bowl; and who consequently might have chosen
the profession of artillery: for considering her make, she must have
issued out of nature's bosom, as a bullet out of the mouth of a cannon.

"Willing to receive informations from her Toy, I examined it. But the
vorticose creature spoke in terms of such sublime geometry, that I
did not understand one word, nor perhaps did it understand its own
language. It was nothing but right lines, concave surfaces, given
quantities, longitude, latitude, profundity, solids, living forces,
dead forces, cone, cylinder, conic sections, curves, elastic curves,
curve re-entring into itself, with its point conjugated----"

"I pray your highness to excuse me from the rest," cried the favorite
mournfully. "You have a cruel memory, enough to put one to death. It
has raised a swimming in my head, which I dare say I shall not get rid
of these eight days. But was the other so diverting?"

"You shall be the judge," replied Mangogul. "By Brama's great toe, I
have performed a prodigy. I have retain'd its motly gibberish word for
word, tho' it be so thoroughly void of sense and perspicuity, that if
you give me a subtile and critical explanation of it, madam, you will
make me an acceptable present."

"How have you said, prince?" cried Mirzoza. "Let me die, if you have
not stolen that phrase from somebody."

"I can't tell how it has happened," replied Mangogul: "for these two
Toys are the only persons to whom I have given audience this day. The
last, on whom I turned my ring, after a moment's silence, said, as if
addressing an audience,

 "'Gentlemen,

 "'I shall take the liberty to avoid seeking, to the contempt of my
 own reason, a model of thinking and expressing myself. But yet if I
 advance any thing new, it shall not be affectation, but the subject
 shall have furnished me with it: if I repeat what has been already
 said, it will be my own thought, as well as it has been that of
 others. Let not irony come to turn this preamble into ridicule, and
 accuse me of either not having read, or of having read to no purpose.
 A Toy like me is not made for reading, or profiting by its reading, or
 foreseeing an objection, or answering it.

 "'I shall not debar myself of reflections and ornaments proportioned
 to my subject; the rather because in this regard it is extremely
 modest, and will not admit of any great quantity or brilliancy. But I
 will avoid sinking into those little minute details, which fall to the
 share of the barren orator. It would be cause of great grief to me to
 be suspected of this defect.

 "'After having informed ye, gentlemen, of what you are to expect from
 my discoveries and elocution, some few strokes of the pencil will be
 sufficient, to sketch you out my character.

 "'You know, gentlemen, as well as I, that there are two sorts of Toys:
 proud Toys and modest Toys. The former are haughty, and always expect
 the place of honour. The latter affect to be courteous, and present
 themselves with an air of submission. These two intentions appear
 manifestly in the execution of their projects, and determine both
 sorts to act according to the genius that guides them.

 "'I imagined, thro' attachment to the prejudices of my first
 education, that I should open to myself a safer, easier, and more
 agreeable career, if I preferr'd the part of humility to that of
 pride; and I offered myself with infantile bashfulness and winning
 supplications to all, whom I had the good fortune to meet.

 "'But oh! how unhappy are the times. After ten times more _buts_ and
 _ifs_ and _ands_ than were sufficient to make the most unemployed
 Toy lose all patience, my services were accepted. Alas! this job
 was of short duration. My first possessor giving himself up to the
 flattering glory of a new conquest, discarded me, and I found myself
 all at once out of employment.

 "'My treasure was gone, and I did not flatter myself that fortune
 would make me amends for it. In effect the vacant place was occupied,
 but not filled by a Sexagenarian, to whom good will was less wanting
 than the means.

 "'He laboured with all his might to make me forget my past state. He
 had for me all that behavior, which is esteemed polite and engaging in
 the career that I pursued: but his efforts did not conquer my regret.

 "'If industry, which is said never to fall short, made him find in
 the treasures of the natural faculty some abatement to my grief; this
 compensation to me appeared insufficient, in spite of my imagination,
 which was daily on the rack to find new resemblances, and even to
 suppose imaginary ones, but to no purpose.

 "'Such is the advantage of primacy, that it seizes the idea, and forms
 a barrier against every thing that would afterwards present itself
 under other forms: and such is, shall I say it, to our shame, the
 ungrateful nature of Toys, that they never take the good-will for the
 deed.

 "'This remark seems to me so natural, that, without being indebted to
 any body for it, I cannot think that I am the only one who has made
 it. But if any person before me has been struck with it; at least,
 gentlemen I am the first who undertake, by demonstrating it, to set
 its full value in a proper light.

 "'I am far from laying the least blame to the charge of those who have
 raised their voice hitherto, for having let this stroke escape them;
 my self-love being abundantly satisfied, to be able, after so great a
 number of orators, to present my observation as something new.--'"

"Ah! prince," cried Mirzoza smartly, "I fancy I hear the chiromancer
of the Manimonbanda. Apply to him, and you will have the subtile and
critical explanation, of which you would in vain expect the agreeable
present from any other person."

The African author says, that Mangogul smiled, and continued. "But I
do not intend," says he, "to relate the rest of his discourse. If this
beginning has not given as much amusement as the first pages of _La Fée
Taupe_, the sequel would be more tiresome than the last pages of the
_Fée Moustache_."



CHAP. XXXVII.

_Mirzoza's dream._


By the time that Mangogul had finished the academical discourse of
Girgiro the entangled, night came on, and the company went to bed.

That night the favorite might well flatter herself with sleeping
soundly: but the evening's conversation ran in her head while asleep:
and its ideas mixing with others, produced an odd dream, which she did
not fail relating to the Sultan, in these words.

"I was in my first sleep, when I imagined that I was transported into
an immense gallery quite full of books. I shall say nothing of their
contents: they were to me at that time, what they are to many others,
who are not asleep. I did not so much as look at one title-page: a more
striking sight attracted my whole attention.

"From space to space between the presses, that contain'd the books,
there were pedestals, on which were placed most beautiful busto's of
marble and Bronze. The injury of time had spared them; and some little
defects excepted, they were entire and perfect. That nobleness and
elegance which characterized the works of the ancients, were stamped
on them. Most of them had long beards, large foreheads like yours, and
engaging countenances.

"I was anxious to learn their names, and know their merit, when a
woman came thro' the casement of a window, and accosted me. Her shape
was genteel, her gait majestic, and her carriage noble, sweetness
and loftiness were blended in her looks, and her voice had some
inexpressible charm that delighted. A helmet, a coat of mail, and a
flowing petticoat, made up all her attire. 'I know your anxiety,' said
she to me, 'and am going to satisfy your curiosity: the men whose
busto's have struck you, were my favorites. They consecrated their
studies to the perfection of the elegant arts, whereof the invention is
due to me. They lived in the most polite countries of the world, and
their writings, which were the delight of their contemporaries, are
the admiration of the present age. Draw near, and you will see carved
on the several pedestals in _Basso relievo_, some remarkable subjects,
which will at least point out to you the character of their writings.'

"The first busto which I examined, was that of a majestic old man, who
seem'd to have been blind. In all probability he had sung of battles:
for such were the subjects on the sides of his pedestal. The front was
all taken up with a single figure, which was that of a young hero. His
hand grasped the handle of his cymeter, and a woman's arm appear'd
holding him back by the hair of the head, who seem'd to moderate his
wrath.

"Opposite to this bust was placed that of a young man: he was the
picture of modesty. His looks were turned on the old man with uncommon
attention. He had also sung of wars and combats: but these were not the
only subjects that employed him: for of the _Basso relievo's_ which
surrounded him, the principal one represented on one side husbandmen
stooping on their ploughs, and tilling the ground; on the other,
shepheards stretched on the grass, and played on their flutes amidst
their herds and dogs.

"The busto placed below the old man on the same side, had a wild look.
His eye seem'd to pursue some object that was flying from him: and
under him were represented a lyre carelessly thrown aside, scattered
laurels, broken chariots, and fiery horses running away in a vast plain.

"Fronting this I saw a busto, which made so deep an impression on me,
that I fancy I see him still. He had a fine air, an aquiline pointed
nose, a steady look, and an arch smile. The _Basso relievo's_, which
adorned his pedestal, were so full of matter, that it would be an
endless task to undertake the description of them.

"After examining some others, I began to ask some questions of my guide.

"'Who is that,' said I, 'who bears truth on his lips, and probity on
his countenance.' 'He was,' replied she, 'the friend and victim to
both. He spent his life in improving his fellow citizens in knowledge
and virtue, and these ingrateful citizens put him to death.'

"'And this busto placed below him?' 'Which? That which appears
supported by the graces carved on the sides of his pedestal?' 'The
same.'--'He is the disciple and inheriter of the sense and principles
of the unfortunate virtuous man above mentioned.'

"'And this lusty jolly fellow, crowned, with vine branches and myrtle,
who is he?'--'A lovely philosopher, who made it his sole business to
sing and taste pleasure. He died in the arms of voluptuousness.'

"'And this other blind man?'--'He is,' said she----But I waited not for
her answer. I imagined I was got among my acquaintance, and hurried to
a busto placed opposite to him. This was posed on a trophy of different
attributes of arts and sciences: Cupids sported among them on one of
the sides of the pedestal: on another was a group of the Genii of
politics, history, and philosophy. On the third, on one hand appear'd
two armies drawn up in battle-array; astonishment and horror dwelt on
every countenance, blended with marks of admiration and pity. These
passions were probably excited by an object, which was there express'd.
It was a young man expiring, and by his side an aged warrior, who
pointed his sword to his own breast. These figures were exquisitely
beautiful, and nothing could be more artfully touch'd than the despair
of the one, and the mortal languor spread throughout the limbs of the
other. I drew nearer, and under it I read this inscription in gold
letters: _Alas! this was his son._

"On the other hand was carved a furious Sultan, plunging a ponyard
into the breast of a young person, in sight of a multitude of people.
Some turn'd their heads aside, others melted in tears: and round this
relievo were these words engraved: _Is it you, Nerestan?_

"As I was passing to other busto's, a sudden noise made me look back.
It was made by a band of men cloath'd in long black gowns. Some carried
censers, which exhaled a gross vapor; others had garlands of flowers
in their hands, gather'd without choice, and disposed without taste.
They march'd up to the busto's, and offered incense to them, singing
hymns in two unknown languages. The smoak of their incense stuck to the
busto's, and the crowns of flowers put on them made a most ridiculous
sight. But the antiques soon resumed their beauty, and I saw the
crowns wither and fall shriveled on the ground. There arose a quarrel
amongst this set of barbarians, because some of them had not bent the
knee low enough in the opinion of others; and they were on the point
of coming to blows, when my guide dispersed them with one look, and
re-established tranquillity in her habitation.

"Scarcely were they eclipsed, when I saw a long train of pigmies
entering by an opposite door. These little men were not two cubits
high, but in recompense they had very sharp teeth and very long
nails. They divided into several bands, and fell on the busto's. Some
endeavour'd to scratch the _basso relievo's_, and the floor was strewed
with the broken pieces of their nails. Others, with greater insolence,
mounted on one another's shoulders, to the highth of the heads, and
gave them raps with their fists. But what diverted me much, was that
these raps, instead of reaching the nose of the bust, rebounded on that
of the pigmy; in consequence of which, upon a close inspection, I found
most of them to be flat-nosed.

"'You see,' says my guide, 'the impudence and chastisements of these
myrmidons. This war has lasted a long while, and always to their
disadvantage. I use them with less severity than the black gowns. The
incense of the latter might possibly disfigure the busto's; but the
efforts of the former generally end in augmenting their beauty. But as
you have not above an hour or two to remain here, I advise you to pass
to other objects.'

"A great curtain opened that instant, and I saw a work shop occupied by
a different sort of pigmies. These had neither teeth nor nails; but in
return they were armed with razors and scissers. In their hands they
held heads, which seemed animated; and they were very busy with these
heads, in cutting off the hair of one, pulling off the nose and ears of
another; putting out the right eye of this, the left of that, and in
dissecting almost all of them. After this fine operation, they viewed
them attentively, and smiled, as if they thought them the prettiest
heads in the world. In vain did the heads send forth loud cries, they
scarcely deign'd to make them any answer. I heard one begging back its
nose, and remonstrating that it could not possibly appear in public
without that piece. 'My friend, head,' replied the pigmy, 'you are
a fool. That nose, which you regret, disfigured you. It was long,
long--You never would have made your fortune with it. But since it has
been curtail'd and pared, you are charming, and you will have many a
spark after you.'

"While the fate of those heads moved my compassion, at a distance I saw
other more charitable pigmies, who were crawling on the ground with
spectacles on. They were picking up noses and ears, and fitting them to
some old heads, from which time had disengaged them. There were some
of them, but those were few in number, who succeeded: the rest fixed
the nose where the ear should be, and the ear where the nose: and this
rendered the heads more disfigured than before.

"Being very desirous to know what all those things meant, I ask'd my
guide: and she had just open'd her lips, in order to give me an answer,
when I awoke in a fright."

"That was cruel," says Mangogul: "this female would have revealed a
number of mysteries to you. But in her stead, I am of opinion that we
ought to address ourselves to my juggler Bloculocus." "Who?" replied
the favorite. "That silly fellow, to whom you have granted the sole
privilege of shewing the magic lanthorn in your court." "The same,"
answered the Sultan. "He will interpret your dream, or no body can.
Let Bloculocus be called," says Mangogul.



CHAP. XXXVIII.

_Twenty-first and twenty-second Trials of the Ring._

Fricamona and Callipiga.


The African author does not inform us what became of Mangogul, while he
waited for Bloculocus. 'Tis very probable that he went out, catechized
some Toys; and that satisfied with the intelligence he received from
them, he returned to the favorite, sending forth shouts of joy, which
begin this chapter. "Victory, victory!" cried he. "You triumph, madam;
the castle, the porcelains, and the little Sapajou are yours."

"'Tis Egle, without doubt?" replied the favorite. "No, madam, no, 'tis
not Egle," interrupted the Sultan, "but another female." "Prince,"
says the favorite, "envy me no longer the comfort of knowing this
Phoenix."----"Well, 'tis: who would have thought it?" "It is?" says
the favorite----"Fricamona," replies Mangogul.----"Fricamona!" says
Mirzoza: "I see no impossibility in that. This woman has spent the
greatest part of her youth in a convent; and since she left it, she has
led the most edifying and most retired life imaginable. No man has set
his foot within her doors, and she has, in some measure, made herself
the abbess of a troop of young devotees, whom she trains up to a state
of perfection, and of whom her house does not grow thin. There was
nothing there to answer your purpose," added the favorite, smiling and
nodding her head.

"Madam, you are in the right," says Mangogul. "I have interrogated her
Toy, but no answer. I doubled the virtue of my ring, by rubbing it once
and again. Nothing came of it. 'To be sure,' said I to myself, 'this
Toy must be deaf:' and I was preparing to leave Fricamona on the couch
where I found her, when she began to speak, by the mouth I mean.

"'Dear Acaris,' cried she, 'how happy am I in those moments, which I
snatch from every thing that employs me, to deliver myself up to thee.
After those which I pass in thy arms, these are the sweetest of my
life.----Nothing disturbs me; around me all is silence: my curtains
not quite closed, let in but just as much day as is necessary for
moving me to tenderness, and gazing on thee. I command my imagination:
it calls thee forth, and immediately I see thee. Dear Acaris, how
beautiful thou appear'st to me!----Yes, those are thy eyes, thy smile,
thy mouth. Hide not that growing bosom from me----Let me kiss it----I
have not sufficiently gazed on it.--Let me kiss it again. Ah! let me
die on it----What fury seizes me?----Acaris, dear Acaris, where art
thou?----Come then, dear Acaris. Ah! dear and tender friend, I swear
to thee, that unknown sentiments have taken possession of my soul.
It is filled with them, it is astonished at them, it is not able to
contain them.----Flow, delightful tears, flow, and ease the ardor which
devours me.----No, dear Acaris, no; that Alizali, whom thou prefer'st
to me, will not love thee as I do---But I hear a noise--Ah! 'tis Acaris
without doubt----Come, dear female friend, come----'

"Fricamona was not deceived," continued Mangogul; "for it was Acaris
herself. I left them to entertain each other; and firmly perswaded that
Fricamona's Toy would persevere in its discretion, I hurried to let
you know that I have lost my wager." "But," replied the Sultana, "I am
quite in the dark with regard to this Fricamona. Either she must be
mad, or she is cruelly afflicted with vapors. No, prince, no, I have
more conscience than you may imagine. I have nothing to object to this
experiment: but yet I perceive somewhat in it, that hinders me from
reaping any advantage by it: and I am resolved to reap none. If ever I
accept your castle and porcelaines, it must be upon a better title."

"Madam," answered Mangogul, "I do not comprehend you. You are
inconceivably difficult. Sure you have not well examined the little
Sapajou."

"Prince, I have thoroughly viewed it," replied Mirzoza. "I know it is
a charming thing. But I suspect that this Fricamona is not the person
I seek. If you desire that I should enjoy it one day or other, apply
elsewhere."

"Faith, madam," says Mangogul after mature consideration, "I see none
but Mirolo's mistress that can make you win the wager."

"Ah! prince, you dream," answered the favorite. "I am not acquainted
with your Mirolo; but whosoever he be, since he has a mistress, he
does not keep her for nothing."

"Very true," says Mangogul; "and yet I would lay another wager, that
Callipiga's Toy knows nothing at all."

"Pray be consistent with yourself," continued the favorite. "Of two
things one must happen, either that Callipiga's Toy----But I was
embarking in a ridiculous argument---Prince, do whatever you think
proper: consult Callipiga's Toy; if it keep silence, so much the worse
for Mirolo, and the better for me."

Mangogul departed, and found himself in an instant close to the jonquil
Sopha, embroidered with silver, on which Callipiga was reposing.
Scarcely had he turned his ring on her, but he heard an obscure voice,
which mutter'd out the following discourse. "What do you ask me? I do
not comprehend your questions. I am not as much as thought of: and yet
I fancy I am as good as another. Mirolo, it is true, often passes by my
door, but----"

_There is a considerable deficiency in this place. The Republic of
Letters would certainty have great obligations to the person, who would
restore the discourse of Callipiga's Toy, of which we have only the two
last lines remaining. We invite the learned to study them, and consider
whether this deficiency be not a voluntary omission of the author,
dissatisfied with what he had said, and who yet found nothing better to
say._

----"It is said that my rival has altars beyond the Alps. Alas! were
it not for Mirolo, the whole universe would erect some to me."

Mangogul returned immediately to the seraglio, and repeated to the
favorite the complaint of Callipiga's Toy, word for word: for he had a
wonderful memory. "Every circumstance of this story, madam," said he,
"concurs to make you win: I give up the whole wager; and you will thank
Callipiga when you shall think proper."

"Sir," answered Mirzoza seriously, "'tis to the most confirmed virtue
that I am resolved to be obliged for the wager, and not----"

"But, madam," replied the Sultan, "I know of none better confirmed than
that which has seen the enemy so near."

"And for my part, prince," replied the favorite, "I understand my own
meaning well: and here come Selim and Bloculocus, who shall be our
judges."

Selim and Bloculocus entered: Mangogul stated the case to them, and
they both gave judgment in Mirzoza's favor.



CHAP. XXXIX.

_Dreams._


"My lord," said the favorite to Bloculocus, "you must render me another
piece of service. Last night a crowd of extravagant fancies disturbed
my head. It was a dream of a very odd kind: and I have been assured
that you are the most able person of Congo in decyphering dreams. Then
give me quickly the interpretation of this;" and withal she related
her own.

"Madam," answered Bloculocus, "I am but a middling
Oneirocritic"----"Pray spare these terms of art," cried the favorite:
"drop your learning, and talk reason to me."

"Madam, you shall be obeyed. I have some singular notions relating
to dreams: and to this alone perhaps I am indebted for the honour of
conversing with you, and for the epithet of Saturnine. I will explain
them to you with all the perspicuity I am capable of.

"You are not ignorant, madam," continued he, "of what the bulk of
philosophers, with the rest of mankind, deliver on that subject. They
say, that the objects which most sensibly struck us the preceding day,
employ our soul in the night. The traces which they imprinted on the
fibres of our brain, subsist. The animal spirits, accustomed to flow to
certain places, pursue a course which is become familiar to them: and
thence arise these involuntary images which afflict or rejoice us. In
this system I should think, that a happy lover ought always to be well
served by his dreams. Nevertheless it frequently happens that a person
who is not cruel to him, while he is awake, in his sleep treats him
like a slave; or that instead of enjoying a charming woman, he finds a
little deformed monster in his arms."

"That is exactly my adventure of last night," interrupted Mangogul:
"for I seldom pass a night without dreaming. It is a family disease;
and we dream from father to son, since the Sultan Togrul, who dream'd
in 743500000002, and began the custom. Now, madam, last night you
appeared to me," says he to Mirzoza. "'Twas your skin, your arms, your
breast, your neck, your shoulders, this firm flesh, this easy shape,
this incomparable _Embonpoint_, in a word it was yourself; excepting
this circumstance, that instead of that charming face, that adorable
head which I expected to find, I found myself nose to nose with the
snout of a Dutch pug.

"I scream'd out dreadfully; my chamberlain Kotluk ran to me, and ask'd
me what was the matter. 'Mirzoza,' answered I, half asleep, 'has just
now undergone the most hideous metamorphosis. She is become a Dutch
dog.' Kotluk did not think proper to awake me: he withdrew, and I fell
asleep again: but I can assure you that I knew you wonderfully well,
your body with a dog's head. Will Bloculocus give me the explanation
of this phænomenon?"

"I do not despair of doing it," answered Bloculocus, "provided your
highness will agree with me in one very plain principle; which is, that
all beings have many conformities one with another, by qualities which
are common to them: and that it is a certain combination of qualities
which characterizes and distinguishes them."

"That is evident," replies Mirzoza. "Ipsiphila has feet, hands, and a
mouth, like a woman of sense;" "and Pharasmena," adds Mangogul, "wears
her sword like a man of courage."

"If a person is not sufficiently acquainted with the qualities, the
combination of which characterizes this or that species; or if he
passes a hasty judgment, that this combination does or does not belong
to this or that individual; he runs the risque of mistaking copper
for gold, a paste for a brillant, a calculator for a geometrician, a
retailer of phrases for a wit, Crito for an honest man, and Phedima for
a pretty woman," added the Sultana.

"Well, madam," replies Bloculocus, "do you know what might be said of
those who pass these judgments?"

"That they dream wide awake," says Mirzoza.

"Very well, madam," continued Bloculocus; "and nothing is more
philosophical or more exact in a thousand circumstances than this
familiar expression: _I believe you dream_: for nothing is more common
than men who fancy that they reason, and in reality only dream with
their eyes open."

"'Tis of those," interrupted the favorite, "one may literally say, that
their whole life is but a dream."

"I cannot too much admire, madam," replied Bloculocus, "the ease
with which you comprehend such abstruse notions. Our dreams are
but precipitate judgments which succeed each other with incredible
rapidity, and by bringing objects together, whose sole connexion is by
very distant qualities, compose one whimsical image."

"If I understand you right," said Mirzoza, "as I think I do, a dream
is a piece of patch-work, the patches of which are more in number,
more regularly fitted, according as the dreamer has a more lively turn
of thought, a more rapid imagination, and a more faithful memory.
Might not madness also consist in this? And when an inhabitant of the
_Petites Maisons_ cries out that he sees lightning, hears the rattling
of thunder, and that gulphs gape under his feet; or when Ariadne at
her glass smiles at herself, finds her eyes sparkling, her complexion
charming, her teeth white, and her mouth little; might not one justly
say, that these two disordered brains, deceived by very distant
affinities, look on imaginary objects as present and real?"

"You have hit it off, madam: yes, a due examination of mad folks will
convince any body, that their condition is but a continual dream."

"I have," says Selim addressing himself to Bloculocus, "some facts by
me, to which your notions are very applicable; which makes me resolve
to adopt them. Once I dream'd that I heard some brayings, and that
I saw two parallel rows of singular animals coming out of the great
mosque; they walk'd gravely on their hinder feet: the hoods in which
their snouts were muffled up, had two holes in each, thro' which issued
two long moveable hairy ears; and very long sleeves envelopped their
fore feet. I rack'd my brain at the time, to find some meaning, in
this vision: but I now recollect that I had been at Montmartre[1] the
preceding evening."

 [1] A hill near Paris famous for asses.

"Another time, while we were in the field, commanded by the great
Sultan Erguebzed in person, and I, harassed by a forced march, was
taking a nap in my tent, I thought I had the conclusion of an important
affair to sollicite in the divan: I went to appear before the council
of regency: but you may judge how much I had reason to be surprized. I
found the hall full of racks, troughs, mangers, and coops for fowls;
in the great Seneschal's easy chair I saw but an ox chewing the cud;
in the Seraskier's place, a Barbary sheep; on the Testesdar's bench,
an eagle with a hooked bill and long talons; instead of the Kiaja and
Kadilesker, two large owls cloathed in fur; and for Visirs, geese with
peacocks tails. I presented my petition, and instantly heard a horrible
racket, which awaked me."

"Is that a dream of very difficult interpretation?" said Mangogul, "you
had at that time some affair in the divan, and before you went thither,
you took a walk to the Menagerie: but Signor Bloculocus, you tell me
nothing concerning my dog's head."

"Prince," answer'd Bloculocus, "'tis a hundred to one, that madam wore,
or you had observed some other lady wear a sable tippet; and that the
first Dutch dog, which you saw, struck your imagination. There you have
ten times more connections than is requisite to employ your mind during
your sleep: the resemblance of colour made you substitute hair for a
tippet, and in an instant you planted an ugly dog's head in the place
of a very beautiful woman's head."

"Your notions to me appear just," replied Mangogul: "why do you not
publish them? they may contribute to the progress of divination by
dreams, an important science, which was much cultivated two thousand
years ago; and has since been too much neglected. Another advantage of
your system is, that it would not fail throwing light on several works,
both ancient and modern, which are but a string of dreams; such as
Plato's treatise of idea's, the fragments of Hermes Trismegistus, the
literary paradoxes of father Harduin, the Newton, the optic of colours,
and the universal mathematicks of a certain Bramin. For example, would
you not inform us, Mr. Conjurer, what Orcotomus had seen in the
daytime, when he dream'd his Hypothesis; what father C---- had dreamt,
when he set about constructing his organ of colours; and what was
Cleobulus's dream, when he composed his tragedy?"

"With a little meditation, Sir," answered Bloculocus, "I might compass
all that: but I reserve these nice phænomena for the time, when I shall
put out my translation of Philoxenus, for which I beseech your highness
to grant me the privilege."

"With all my heart," says Mangogul: "but who is this same
Philoxenus?"----"Prince," replies Bloculocus, "he is a Greek author,
who was very knowing in the subject of dreams."----"Then you understand
Greek?"----"Who I, Sir, not a syllable."----"Have you not told me
that you are translating Philoxenus, and that he wrote in Greek?"
"Yes, Sir; but in order to translate a language, it is not necessary
to understand it: because translations are made for those only, who
understand it not."

"That is wonderful," says the Sultan; "Signor Bloculocus, well then
translate Greek without understanding it. I give you my word, that I
will keep the secret, and it shall not make me honour you one jot the
less."



CHAP. XL.

_Twenty-third Trial of the Ring._

Fannia.


There still remain'd a good part of the day, when this conversation was
closed: which determined Mangogul to make one trial of his ring, before
he retired to his appartment; tho' it were purely to fall asleep on
more chearful idea's than those which had hitherto employ'd him. He
went directly to Fannia's house; but found her not. He return'd thither
after supper; she was still absent. Wherefore he put off his experiment
to the next morning.

Mangogul, says the African author, whose Journal we translate, was at
Fannia's house by half an hour after nine this morning. She was but
just put to bed. The Sultan drew near her pillow, view'd her for some
time, and could not conceive how, with so few charms, she had run
through so many adventures.

Fannia is fair even to insipidity, tall, ungainly, with an indecent
gait, no features, few _Agrémens_, and an air of intrepidity,
intolerable any where but at court. As for wit, she is allowed to have
just as much as gallantry can communicate: and a woman must be born
very weak, if she has not acquired a stock of jargon after a score of
intrigues; for Fannia was advanced thus far.

At this time she was possessed by a man suited to her character. He
gave himself little or no concern about her infidelities; tho' indeed
he was not as well informed as the public, how far she carried them.
He had taken Fannia by caprice, and kept her by habit; like a piece of
furniture. They had spent the night at the ball, went to bed at nine,
and fell asleep without ceremony. Alonzo's indifference would not have
suited Fannia, were it not for her easy humour. Thus our couple were
sleeping soundly back to back, when the Sultan turn'd his ring on
Fannia's Toy. It instantly began to speak, its mistress to snoar, and
Alonzo to awake.

After yawning several times; "this is not Alonzo, what's o'clock, who
wants me? your business," said the Toy. "I think I have not been long
in bed, let me take another nap."

The Toy was preparing to compose itself to rest accordingly; but that
was not the Sultan's intention. "What persecution," resumed the Toy.
"Once more who wants me, and for what? 'tis a misfortune to be born of
illustrious ancestors: how unhappy is the condition of a titled Toy! if
any thing could console me for the fatigues of my state, it would be
the goodness of the nobleman, whose property I am. Oh! he is certainly
the best man in the world in that regard. He has never given us the
least uneasiness: and in return we have made great use of the liberty
he granted us. What would have become of me, great Brama, if I had
fallen to the share of one of those insipid wretches, who are always
upon the watch? what a fine life we should have led!"

Here the Toy added some words, which Mangogul understood not, and then
with surprising rapidity fell to sketching out a crowd of heroic,
comic, burlesque, and tragicomic adventures: and it was almost out of
breath, when it continued in these terms. "You see I have some memory.
But I am like all others; I have retained but the smallest part of what
I have been intrusted with. Be satisfied therefore with what I have
related to you, I can recollect no more at present."

"'Tis pretty well," said Mangogul within himself; but still he urged
afresh. "Lud, how teizing you are," resumed the Toy: "As if one had
nothing better to do than to prate. Come then, since it must be so, let
us prate on: perhaps when I have told all, I shall be permitted to do
something else.

"My Mistress Fannia," continued the Toy, "thro' an inconceivable spirit
of retirement, quitted the court, to shut her self up in her house at
Banza. It was then the beginning of autumn, and every body was out
of town. And if you ask me what she did there; Faith, I can't tell.
But Fannia never did but one thing; and if she had been employ'd that
way, I should have known it. Probably she was out of work: true, I now
recollect, we spent a day and a half in perfect idleness, which threw
us into a cruel fit of the vapors.

"I was heart-sick of this sort of life, when Amisadar was so good to
relieve us from it.---'Ah! you are there, my poor Amisadar, indeed you
give me great pleasure. You come to me very opportunely.'----'And who
knew that you were at Banza?' replied Amisadar.--'No body truly; and
neither you nor any one else will ever imagine what brought me hither.
Don't you guess at the cause?'----'No, really, I cannot comprehend
it.'--'Not at all?'--'No, not at all.'--'Well then know, my dear,
that I resolved to be converted'--'You, to be converted?'----'Yes,
I'----'Look on me a little: but you are as charming as ever, and
I see nothing in that countenance that bespeaks conversion. This
is all pleasantry'----'No, faith, I am serious. I am determined to
renounce the world. I am tired of it'----'This is a whim, that will
soon fly off. Let me die, if ever you run into devotion'----'I
will, I tell you: there is no sincerity in man'----'Pray has Mazul
fail'd you?'----'I have not seen him this age.'----'Then it must
be Zumpholo?'----'Less still, I have ceased seeing him, I can't
tell how, without thinking about it.'----'Ah! I have it, 'tis young
Imola?'--'Good, who can fix such fribbles?'--'What is it then?'----'I
can't tell, I am angry with the whole earth?'----'Ah! Madam, you are in
the wrong; for this earth, at which you are angry, might furnish you
wherewithal to repair your losses.'----'Then, Amisadar, you sincerely
believe that there are still some good souls, who have escaped from
the corruption of the age, and are capable of love?'----'How, love!
Is it possible that you give into those pitiful notions? you expect
to be loved, you?'----'And why not?'----'But reflect, madam, that a
man who loves, pretends to be loved, and alone too. You have too much
good sense, to enslave your self to the jealousies and caprices of a
tender and faithful lover. Nothing so fatiguing as these folks. To
see but them, to love but them, to dream of none but them, to have
no wit, humour, or charms but for them; all this most certainly does
not suit you. It would be pleasant to see you stive yourself up in,
what is called, the noble passion, and give your self all the awkward
airs of a little female cit.' 'Well, Amisadar, you seem to be in the
right. I verily think it would ill become us to run into fawning love.
Let us change then, since it must be so. Besides, I do not see, that
those loving women, whom they set us as models, are happier than
others'----'Who told you so, madam?'----'No body, but it is easily
foreseen.'----'Trust not to such foresight? A loving woman constitutes
her own, and her lover's happiness: but this part is not suited to all
women.'----'Faith, my dear, it is suited to none: for all, who attempt
it, are sufferers. What advantage is there in fixing to one?'----'A
thousand, a woman, who fixes her affections, will preserve her
reputation; will be sovereignly esteemed by the man she loves; and you
cannot imagine, how much love owes to esteem.'----'I do not comprehend
your meaning, you make a jumble of reputation, love, esteem, and I
can't tell what besides. Would you be understood, that inconstancy must
dishonour a woman? How, I take a man, and find he does not answer
my expectations: I take another, and am still disappointed: I change
him for a third, who does not turn out a jot better: and because I
have had the misfortune to make a score of wrong choices, instead of
pitying me, you would'----'I would, madam, advise a woman who has been
deceived in her first choice, not to make a second; for fear of being
deceived again, and running from one error into another.'----'Good
God, what strange morality! I fancy, my dear, that you preached me a
quite different sort just now. Might one be informed what sort of woman
would hit your taste?'----'Most willingly, madam but 'tis late, and the
discourse would run into too great a length.'----'So much the better: I
am alone, and you will be company for me. Thus the affair is settled,
is it not? Seat yourself on this couch, and go on: I shall hear you
more at ease.'

"Amisadar obey'd, and sate down by Fannia. 'That mantelet of yours,
madam,' says he, leaning towards her, and uncovering her bosom, 'wraps
you up strangely.'--'You say right.'----'Why then do you hide such
beautiful things?' added he, kissing them.----'Come, ha' done. Do
you know that you are mad? You are become intolerably impudent. Mr.
Moralist, resume the conversation which you began.'

"'Well then,' said Amisadar, 'I would be glad to find in my mistress
a good figure, good sense, good sentiments, and decency above all. I
would have her approve my attendance; not deceive me by looks; make
me thoroughly sensible, once at least, that I am agreeable to her;
and even inform me how I may become still more so; not conceal from
me the progress I make in her heart; give ear to none but me, have
no eyes but for me; neither think, nor even dream, but of me; love
but me; busy herself about nothing but me; do nothing but what may
tend to convince me of all this: and at length yielding herself up
to my transports, let me plainly perceive that I owe every thing to
my love and to hers. Oh, what a triumph, madam! And how happy is the
man who possesses such a woman!'----'Alas, my poor Amisadar, you are
certainly out of your senses. You have drawn the portrait of woman
who does not exist.'----'Pardon me, madam, there are some in being. I
own that they are rare; but yet I have had the good fortune to light
of one. Alas! If death had not snatch'd her from me, for 'tis death
alone that ever robs one of such women, perhaps I should be in her
arms at present'----'But how then did you behave with her?'--'I loved
to distraction, and miss'd no opportunity of giving her proofs of my
passion. I had the sweet satisfaction of seeing that they were well
received. I was scrupulously faithful to her, and she to me. The only
disputes between us were, whose love was strongest; and in these little
debates it was, that we laid our hearts open. We were never so fond
as after this scrutiny of our souls. Our caresses always became more
tender and vigorous after our explanations. Oh! what love and truth
were then in our looks! I read in her eyes, and she in mine, that we
burned with equal and mutual ardor.'----'And whither did all this lead
ye?'----'To pleasures unknown to all mortals less amorous and sincere
than us.'----'You enjoyed?'----'Yes I enjoyed, but a good on which
I set an infinite value. If esteem does not intoxicate, at least it
hightens the intoxication considerably. We unbosom'd ourselves without
reserve, and you can't imagine how much it strengthened our passion.
The more I examined, the more perfections I discovered, and the greater
were my transports. I spent half my time at her feet, and I regretted
the loss of the rest. I made her happiness, and she filled up the
measure of mine. I always saw her with pleasure, and always quitted
her with pain. Thus we lived together: and now, madam, you may judge
if loving women are so much to be pitied'----'No they are not, if what
you tell me be true; but I can scarcely believe it. There is no such
love as you describe. Nay, I imagine, that such a passion as you have
felt, must make a man purchase the pleasures it affords at the expence
of great uneasinesses.'----'I had some, madam, but I was fond of them.
I felt some twitches of jealousy. The least alteration which I remarked
in her countenance, spread the alarm all over my soul.'----'What
extravagance! Upon mature consideration, I conclude that it is better
to love in the present fashionable way; to take a lover at one's ease,
keep to him while he amuses, quit him when he becomes tiresome, or
that our fancy speaks for another. Inconstancy affords a variety of
pleasures unknown to you languishing folks.'----'I grant that that
method may be proper enough for little kept mistresses and common
women; but does not suit with a man of tenderness and delicacy.
At most it may amuse him, when his heart is disengaged, and he is
willing to make comparisons. In a word, a woman of gallantry is by
no means of my taste.'----'You are in the right, my dear Amisadar,
you have a ravishing way of thinking. But do you love any thing at
present?'----'Nothing, madam, but yourself; and I dare not tell you so
neither.'----'Ah! my dear, dare on: you may continue,' replied Fannia,
gazing on him stedfastly.

"Amisadar understood this reply thoroughly well, moved forward on the
couch, fell to playing with a ribbon, which hung down on Fannia's
breast, and he was not interrupted. His hand, meeting with no
obstacle, slipt down lower. She continued to fire him with glances,
which he did not misinterpret. For my part," says the Toy, "I found,
he was a sensible man. He took a kiss on that neck, on which he had
bestowed so many encomiums. He was desired to stop, but in such a
tone as plainly shewed that she would take it ill, if he obeyed; and
accordingly he did not. He kissed her hands, returned to her neck,
passed to her mouth: nothing resisted him. Insensibly Fannia's leg
was on Amisadar's thighs. He put his hand on it: it was soft, and
Amisadar did not fail to remark it. His elogy was heard with an air of
distraction. By favor of this inattention, Amisadar's hand advanced,
and with rapidity reached her knees. The absence of mind still
continued; and Amisadar was preparing for the charge, when Fannia came
to herself. She accused the little philosopher of want of respect; but
he became so absent in his turn, that he did not hear one word, or at
least made no other answer to the reproaches she threw on him, but by
compleating his happiness.

"What a charming man he appear'd to me! Of the multitude of those, who
preceded and followed him, not one was ever so much to my taste. I
cannot mention him without panting. Pray suffer me to recover breath!
I think I have spoken a pretty sufficient time, considering it is my
first speech."

Alonzo did not lose one single Word of Fannia's Toy; and he was
no less impatient than Mangogul to hear the remaining part of the
adventure: but neither of them had time to be out of patience, when the
tale-telling Toy resumed in these words.

"All that I can comprehend after serious consideration, is, that in
some few days Amisadar went to the country, that he was asked the
reason of his stay in town, and that he related his adventure with my
mistress. For somebody of Amisadar's and her acquaintance, passing by
our door, enquired either by chance or design, if madam was at home,
sent in his name, and went up.----'Ah! madam, who could imagine you
were in Banza? and how long are you here?'----'An age, my dear, this
fortnight, that I have renounced society.' 'May I presume to ask,
madam, upon what account?'----'Alas! because I was tired of it. Women
are become such strange libertines, that there is no bearing them. One
must either do as they do, or pass for a silly creature; and sincerely,
I think both extremes should be avoided.'----'Indeed, madam, you are
become quite edifying. Pray, is it the conversation of the Bramin
Brelibibi, that has wrought your conversion?'----'No, 'tis a squall of
philosophy, 'tis a quint of devotion. It seized me suddenly; and it
is not poor Amisadar's fault that I am not at present practising the
highest austerity.'----'Then madam has seen him lately?'----'Yes, once
or twice.'----'And you have seen no body else.'----'No, truly. He is
the only thinking, reasoning, active being, that has entered my doors
during the eternity of my retreat.'----'That is singular'----'And what
singularity is there in it?'----'Nothing but an adventure which he
had the other day with a lady of Banza, alone like you, devout like
you, retired from the world like you. But I must tell you the story:
perhaps it will amuse you.'----'Without doubt,' replied Fannia: and
immediately Amisadar's friend set about relating his adventure word
for word, as I have done," says the Toy: "and when he was advanced as
far as I am now.----'Well, madam,' said he, 'what do you think? Is not
Amisadar a lucky man?'----'But,' answered Fannia, 'Amisadar is a lier
perhaps: do you imagine that there are women so daring as to abandon
themselves without shame?'----'But consider, madam,' replied Maruspha,
'that Amisadar has named no body, and it is very improbable that he has
imposed'----'I begin to see thro' the affair,' says Fannia: 'Amisadar
has wit, and is a handsome man, he has, to be sure, infused some
notions of sensual pleasure sure into this poor recluse, which have
mastered her. Yes, this must be it: this sort of folks are dangerous
to hear, and Amisadar is matchless in that way.'----'How, madam,'
interrupted Marsupha, 'is Amisadar the only man that has the art of
perswading, and will you not do justice to others, who deserve, as much
as he, a share in your esteem?---'Pray, whom do you mean?'----'Myself,
madam, who think you a charming woman, and'----'I fancy you joke. Look
at me then, Marsupha. I have neither paint nor patches. My night-cap
does not become me. I make a frightful figure.'----'You are mistaken,
madam: that undress sets you off surprisingly. It gives you so winning
and kind an air!'----

"To these gallantries Marsupha added others. I insensibly joined in
the conversation; and when Marsupha had finished with me, he resumed
with my mistress. 'Seriously, Amisadar has attempted your conversion;
he has an admirable hand at conversions. Could you give me a sample
of his morals? I would lay a wager they are much the same with
mine.'----'We have thoroughly handled some points of gallantry. We have
analysed the difference between an affectionate woman and a woman of
gallantry. He is for the affectionate women'----'And you too without
doubt?'----'Not at all, my dear. I took great pains to demonstrate
to him, that we were all alike, and that we acted upon the same
principles: but he is not of this opinion. He establishes an infinity
of distinctions, which, I think, exist nowhere but in his imagination.
He has formed to himself, I can't tell what ideal creature, a chimæra
of a woman, a non-entity in a coif.'----'Madam,' answered Marsupha, 'I
know Amisadar. He is a lad of good sense, and has been very conversant
with the sex. If he has told you that there were such'----'Oh! whether
there are such or not,' interrupted Fannia, 'I could never conform to
their customs.'----'I believe it,' said Marsupha: 'and accordingly you
have chosen another sort of conduct more suitable to your birth and
merit. Those silly creatures are to be abandoned to philosophers: they
would never be look'd on at court.----"

Here Fannia's Toy stopt short. One of the principal perfections of
these orators was to break off their discourse _à propos_. They talk'd
as if they had never done any thing else: whence some authors have
inferr'd, that they were pure machines. In this place the African
author specifies all the metaphysical arguments of the Cartesians
against the soul of brutes, which he applies with all possible sagacity
to the prating of Toys. In a word, his opinion is, that Toys speak as
birds sing; that is to say, so perfectly without having been taught,
that, to be sure, they are prompted by some superior intelligence.

But you ask me how he disposes of his prince. He sends him to dine with
the favorite: at least 'tis there we shall find him in the following
chapter.



CHAP. XLI.

_The history of Selim's travels._


Mangogul, whose thoughts ran solely on diversifying his pleasures, and
multiplying the trials of his ring; after having interrogated the most
interesting Toys of the court, had the curiosity to hear some of the
city Toys. But as he had no advantageous opinion of what his should
learn from them, he would willingly consult them at his ease, and save
himself the trouble of going to find them out.

How to bring them to him, was what embarassed him. "You are in great
pain for a trifle," says Mirzoza. "Sir, you have only to give a
ball, and I promise you this very night a greater number of those
speech-makers than you will covet to hear."

"My heart's joy, you say right," replied Mangogul; "and your
contrivance is the better still, because we shall certainly have
none but those whom we have occasion for." In a moment an order was
dispatch'd to the Kislar-Agasi, and the master of the revels, to
prepare the ball, and to distribute no more than four thousand tickets.
They were probably better judges in that country than elsewhere, of the
room that six thousand persons would take up.

To amuse themselves till the hour of the ball, Selim, Mangogul, and
the favorite set about telling news. "Does madam know," says Selim to
the favorite, "that poor Codindo is dead?" "This is the first word
I heard of it, but what did he the of?" says the favorite. "Alas,
madam," answered Selim, "he fell a victim to attraction. He filled his
head with this system in his youth, and it turn'd his brain in his old
days." "How so?" says the favorite.

"He had found," continued Selim, "by the methods of Halley and Circino,
two celebrated astronomers of Monoémugi, that a certain comet, which
made so much noise towards the end of Kanaglou's reign, was to return
the day before yesterday; and fearing lest it might double its steps,
and he should not have the happiness of being the first to see it; he
resolved to spend the night in his observatory, and yesterday morning
at nine o'clock he had still his eye clung to the telescope.

"His son apprehending the consequences of so long a sitting, went to
him at eight, pull'd him by the sleeve, and called him several times:
_Father, Father_. Not a word of answer. _Father, Father,_ repeated the
young Codindo. 'It is just going to appear,' replied Codindo: 'it will
appear; zounds! I shall see it.' 'But you do not consider, dear father,
that there is a dismal fog'----'I must see it, I will see it, I tell
thee.'

"The young man, convinced by these answers, that the fog had got into
his father's head, called out for help. The family ran to him, and sent
for Farfadi; and I was with him (for he is my physician) when Codindo's
servant came.----'Quick, quick, Sir, make haste, old Codindo, my
master'----'Well, what is the matter, Champagne? What has befallen your
master?'----'Sir, he is run mad.'----'Thy master is run mad'----'Oh!
yes, Sir. He cries out that he must see beasts, that he will see
beasts; that they will come. The apothecary is with him already, and
they wait for you. Come quickly.'----'_Maniacal_,' says Farfadi,
putting on his gown, and hunting for his square-cap; '_Maniacal_, a
terrible maniacal fit.' Then turning to the servant, he ask'd: 'Does
not thy master see butterflies? Does he not pick the ends of his
coverlid?'----'Oh! no, Sir,' replied Champagne. 'The poor man is on the
top of his observatory, where his wife, daughters and son have much ado
to hold him. Come quickly, you will find your square-cap to-morrow.'

"Codindo's disease seemed to me to be of an odd kind: I took Farfadi in
my coach, and we drove to the observatory. At the bottom of the stairs
we heard Codindo crying out in a furious tone: 'I must see the comet, I
will see it: withdraw ye rascals and jades.'

"In all probability his family, finding that they could not prevail
on him to go down to his bed-chamber, had ordered his bed up to him:
for we found him lying in bed at the top of his observatory. An
apothecary of the neighbourhood, and the Bramin of the parish had been
called before we arrived. The latter was trumpeting into his ear:
'Brother, dear brother, your salvation is at stake: you cannot with
a safe conscience expect a comet at this hour of the day: you damn
yourself.'----'That is my business,' said Codindo. 'What answer will
you give to Brama, before whom you are going to appear?' replied the
Bramin.----'Mr. Rector,' says Codindo, without stirring his eye from
the telescope, 'my answer shall be, that it is your trade to exhort me
for my money, and the apothecary's there, to extol his warm water to
me; that the physician does his duty of feeling my pulse, and learning
nothing from it; and I my own, of waiting for the comet.'----In vain
did they teize him, they drew nothing more from him: he continued to
observe with heroic courage; and he died on the leads, his left hand
on his eye of that side, his right laid on the tube of the telescope,
and his right eye applied close to the eye-glass; between his son, who
cried that he made a false calculation; his apothecary, who proposed
him a clyster, his physician, who with a toss of his head pronounced,
that there was nothing more to be done; and his priest, who said to
him: 'brother, make an act of contrition, and recommend yourself to
Brama.----'"

"That is," says Mangogul, "what they call dying in the bed of honour."
"Let us leave poor Codindo," added the favorite, "to rest in peace, and
pass to some more agreeable subject." Then addressing herself to Selim,
"my lord," says she, "as you are so gallant at this time of life, have
so much wit, talents, and so good a mien, and lived in a court devoted
to pleasures; it is no wonder if the Toys have formerly celebrated your
fame. But yet I suspect that they have not told all they knew of you. I
do not require this supplement: you may have good reasons for refusing
it. But after all the adventures, with which this gentry have honoured
you, you ought to know womankind: and this is one of those things of
no consequence, which you may safely own."

"This compliment, madam," replied Selim, "would have flattered my
self-love at the age of twenty: but I have gained some experience,
and one of my first reflections is, that the more one practises this
business, the less knowledge he obtains. I, to know women! that I have
studied them much, may be allowed." "Well, what do you think of them?"
said the favorite. "Madam," answered Selim, "whatsoever their Toys
might have published concerning them, I esteem the whole sex as most
respectable."

"Indeed, my friend," says the Sultan, "you deserve to be a Toy; you
would have no occasion for a muzzle." "Selim," added the Sultana,
"abandon the satyrical strain, and speak the truth." "Madam," replied
the courtier, "I may possibly mix some disagreeable strokes with my
narrative: do not impose the task on me of offending a sex, which has
always used me well enough, and which I revere by"----"What, always
veneration! I know nothing so caustic as those sweet-tongued folks,
when they set on," intermitted Mirzoza; and imagining that it was
through regard for her that Selim excused himself, "Let not my presence
restrain you," added she: "we are contriving to amuse ourselves; and
I promise upon my honour to apply to myself all the obliging things
you shall say of my sex, and to leave the rest to other women. Well,
you have studied women much? Pray, give us an account of the course of
your studies: it must have been very brilliant, if I may judge of it
by what is known of the success: and it is reasonable to presume, that
this will not be contradicted by what is unknown." The old courtier
complied with her desire, and began thus.

"The Toys, I own, have talked a good deal of me: but they have not told
all. Those who were capable of completing my history, either are no
more, or are not in our climate: and those who have begun it, have but
lightly touched the subject. I have hitherto inviolably kept the secret
which I had promised them; although I was better made to speak than
they: but since they have broke silence, I think they have dispensed me
from the obligation of keeping it.

"Born with a fiery constitution, I loved almost as soon as I knew what
a beautiful woman was. I had governants which I detested; but in return
I was much pleased with my mother's waiting-women. They were for the
most part young and pretty: they conversed, dressed, and undressed
before me without ceremony; they have even enticed me to take liberties
with them, and my temper naturally inclining to gallantry, turned every
thing to advantage. With these elements of instruction, at five or six
years of age I was put under the care of men; and God knows how forward
I was in improving them, when the ancient authors were put into my
hands, and my tutors explained certain passages, of which possibly they
themselves did not penetrate into the sense. My father's pages taught
me some pretty college tricks: and the perusal of _Aloysia_, which they
lent me, gave me a vehement desire of becoming perfect. I was then
fourteen years of age.

"I cast my eyes around, seeking among the women who frequented the
house, one to whom I might make my addresses: but they all appeared
equally proper to ease me of my irksome load of innocence. A commenced
acquaintance, and still more the courage I felt to attack a person of
my own age, and which failed me with regard to others, determined my
choice in favor of one of my cousins. Emilia was young, and so was
I: I thought her pretty, and she liked me: she was not difficult,
and I was enterprizing: I had a mind to learn, and she was not less
curious to know. We frequently asked one another very frank and strong
questions: and one day she deceived the vigilance of her governants,
and we instructed each other. Ah! how great a master is nature! it soon
set us in the high road of pleasure, and we abandoned ourselves to
its impulse, without the least thought of the consequences: and this
was not the way to prevent them. Emilia had indispositions, which
she took the less pains to hide, as she did not suspect the cause.
Her mother examined her, extorted a confession of our commerce, and
my father was informed of it. He made me some reprimands blended with
an air of satisfaction; and it was immediately resolved that I should
travel. I set out with a governor, who was charged to watch my conduct
attentively, but not to put me under any restraint: and five months
after, the gazette informed me, that Emilia died of the small pox;
and a letter from my father, that her tenderness for me had cost her
her life. The first fruit of my love serves with distinction in the
Sultan's army: I have always supported him by my credit, and to this
day he knows me solely as his protector.

"We were at Tunis, when I received the news of his birth and his
mother's death. Her fate touched me to the quick, and I believe I
should have been inconsolable, had I not embarked in an intrigue with a
sea-captain's wife, who did not afford me time to run into despair. The
Tunetine was intrepid, and I was fool-hardy: for with the assistance
of a rope-ladder, which she threw to me, I passed every night from my
lodging on her terrass, and thence into a closet, where she put the
finishing hand to my instructions; Emilia having only made a beginning.
Her husband return'd from a cruize, just at the time, that my governor,
who had received his instructions, urged me to cross over into Europe.
I embarked on board a vessel bound for Lisbon, but not without several
times taking leave of Elvira, from whom I received this diamond.

"The vessel, in which we sailed, was laden with merchandise; but the
most valuable commodity on board, to my taste, was the captain's
wife. She was not quite twenty: and her husband was as jealous of her
as a tyger, and not quite without cause. We all soon understood one
another: Donna Velina perceived that I had a liking for her; I, that
I was not indifferent to her; and her husband, that he incommoded us.
The sailor resolved not to lose sight of us till we were landed at
Lisbon. I read in the eyes of his dear wife, how much she fretted at
her husband's assiduity: mine testified the same things to her, and
the husband understood us wonderfully well. We spent two whole days in
an inconceivable thirst of pleasure; which would certainly have kill'd
us, had not heaven assisted us: but it always assists souls in pain.
Just upon our passing the Streights of Gibraltar, a furious tempest
arose. I would not fail, madam, to raise the winds about your ears, and
make thunder rattle over your head; to set the heavens on fire with
lightning; raise the billows up to the clouds, and describe the most
horrid tempest which you have ever met with in any romance; were I
not giving you a history. I shall only tell you, that the captain was
compelled by the sailors cries to quit his room, and expose himself
to one danger for fear of another. He went up on deck together with
my governor, and I threw myself without hesitation into the arms of
my fair Portuguese; quite forgetting that there was any such thing in
nature as a sea, storms, or tempests; that we were on board a tottering
vessel; and abandoning myself without reserve to the perfidious
element. Our course was rapid, and you may well judge, madam, by the
weather at that time, that I saw a great deal of land in a few hours.
We put in at Cadiz, where I left a promise with the Signora to meet her
at Lisbon, if my Mentor agreed to it, whose design was to go directly
to Madrid.

"The Spanish women are more closely confined, and more amorous than
ours. Love is managed in that country by a sort of ambassadresses,
who have orders to catechize strangers, to make proposals to them, to
conduct them forward and backward; and the ladies undertake the task
of making them happy. I was not obliged to go through this ceremony,
thanks to the conjuncture. A great revolution had lately placed a
prince of the blood royal of France on the throne of this kingdom: his
arrival and coronation occasioned festivals at the court, where I then
appeared. I was accosted at a masquerade; and a meeting was proposed
me for the next day: I accepted the challenge, and went into a little
house, where I found only one man mask'd, his nose wrapp'd in his
cloak, who delivered me a letter, in which Donna Oropeza put off the
party to the next day at the same hour. I returned, and was introduced
into an appartment sumptuously furnish'd, and well illuminated with
wax tapers. My goddess did not make me wait long. She enter'd just at
my heels, and rush'd into my arms without speaking a word, or taking
off her mask. Was she ugly? Was she handsome? was what I knew not. I
only perceived on the couch, to which she drew me, that she was young,
well-made, and loved pleasure. When she found herself satisfied with
my panegyricks, she unmask'd, and shewed me the original of this
picture, which you see in my snuff-box."

Selim open'd, and at the same time presented the favorite with a gold
box, of exquisite work, and richly adorn'd with jewels. "The present
is gallant," says Mangogul: "what I esteem most in it," added the
favorite, "is the portrait. What eyes! What a mouth! what a neck!
But is not all this hightened?" "So little, madam," replied Selim,
"that Oropeza would probably have fixed me at Madrid, if her husband,
informed of our commerce, had not disturbed it by his threats. I loved
Oropeza, but I loved life better still. Besides, my governor was not of
opinion, that I should expose myself to be poniarded by the husband,
for the sake of enjoying his wife some few months more. Wherefore I
wrote to the fair Spanish Donna a very moving farewel letter, which I
stole out of some romance of that country, and set out for France.

"The monarch, who then reigned in France, was the king of Spain's
grandfather, and his court was justly esteemed the most magnificent,
most polite, and most gallant in Europe. I appeared there as a
phænomenon. 'A young lord of Congo,' says a beautiful marquise. 'That
must be surely very diverting: those men are better then ours. I think
Congo is not far from Morocco.' Suppers were given, to which I was
invited. Let my discourse have ever so little sense in it, it was found
fine, admirable: people retracted, who had at first done me the honour
to suspect that I had not common sense. 'He is a charming man,' says
another court lady briskly: 'it would be murther to suffer so pretty a
figure to return into a wretched country, where the women are narrowly
watched by men who are no longer so. Is it true, sir? 'Tis said, that
they have nothing. That is very unseemly in a man.'----'But,' adds
another, 'we must keep this great boy here, (for he is well born) tho'
he were only made a knight of Malta. I engage, if you will, to procure
him an employment; and the dutchess Victoria, my old friend, will speak
to the king in his favor, if it be requisite.'

"I soon had indubitable proofs of their good-will, and I put the
marquise into a condition of pronouncing on the merit of the
inhabitants of Morocco and Congo. I found that the employment, which
the dutchess and her friend had promised me, was difficult to execute,
and therefore gave it up. It was in this recess that I learned to
form those noble passions of twenty-four hours. I circulated during
six months in a vortex, where the beginning of an adventure did not
wait for the end of another; because enjoyment was the only thing
intended. Or if that was slow in coming, or as soon as it was obtained,
we ran upon the scent of new pleasures." "What do you tell me,
Selim?" interrupted the favorite. "Decency is then unknown in those
countries?" "Pardon me, madam," replied the old courtier. "They have
scarcely any other word in their mouths. But the French women are no
more slaves to the thing than their neighbors." "What neighbors?"
says Mirzoza. "The English women," replied Selim, "who are cold and
scornful in appearance, but passionate, voluptuous, vindictive; less
witty and more rational than the French women. These love the jargon
of sentiment, those prefer the expression of pleasure. But at London
as at Paris, people love, separate, rejoin to separate again. From
the daughter of a lord bishop (these are a sort of Bramins who do
not keep celibacy) I passed to a baronet's wife. While he was warmly
supporting the interest of the nation in the house of commons, against
the attempts of the court; his wife and I had quite different debates
in his house. But the session was closed, and madam was obliged to
attend her knight to his manor. I then light upon a colonel's wife,
whose regiment was quartered along the sea-coast: I afterwards belong'd
to the lady mayoress. Ah, what a woman! I should never have seen Congo
again, if the prudence of my governor, who saw me wasting away, had
not redeemed me from this gally. He counterfeited letters from my
family, which recalled me with all possible expedition, and we embarked
for Holland: our design was to travel through Germany into Italy, where
we expected frequent opportunities of vessels to carry us to Afric.

"We saw Holland only in riding post; and did not tarry much longer in
Germany. All the women of rank there resemble important citadels, which
must be besieged in form. They are to be reduced, but the approaches
require so many measures, there are so many _ifs_ and _buts_, when the
articles of capitulation are to be settled, that those conquests soon
tired me.

"I shall never forget the expression of a German lady of the first
quality, on the subject of granting me what she had not refused to
several others. 'Alas!' cried she mournfully, 'what would my father
the great Alkizi say, if he knew that I abandon myself to such a low
creature as a Congese.' 'He shall say nothing, madam,' replied I: 'so
much grandeur affrights me, and I withdraw.' It was wisely done of
me; for if my mediocrity had compromised with her highness, I might
have repented it. Brama, who protects the wholesome climes, which we
inhabit, inspired me without doubt in this critical moment.

"The Italian ladies, whom we frequented afterwards, are not mounted on
so high a pin. It was with them that I learned the modes of pleasure.
There is indeed much caprice and whim in those refinements; but you
will pardon me, ladies, if I say, that sometimes there is no pleasing
you without them. From Venice and Rome I brought some merry receipts
before my time unknown in our barbarous country. But I restore all the
glory of them to the Italian women, who communicated them to me.

"I spent about four years in Europe, and returned through Egypt into
this empire, modelled as you see, and stock'd with the rare secrets of
Italy, which I soon divulged."

Here, says the African author, Selim perceiving that the common place
language, which he held to the favorite on his adventures in Europe,
and on the characters of the women of the countries through which he
passed, had plunged Mangogul into a deep sleep, was afraid of awaking
him; and therefore drew near to the favorite, and continued in a lower
voice.

"Madam," said he, "were I not apprehensive that I have tired you by
a narrative, which has perhaps been already too long; I would relate
you the adventure, by which I commenced my operations on my arrival at
Paris: I cannot think how it has escaped me."

"Tell it, my good friend," answered the favorite; "I will double my
attention, and make amends, as much as I am able, for the Sultan's
inattention, who sleeps."

"At Madrid," continued Selim, "we had taken recommendations for some
lords of the court of France, and at our setting foot in Paris we
found ourselves loaded with protestations of friendship. It was then
the pleasant season of the year, and in the evenings my governor and I
went to walk in the gardens of the Palais Royal. One day we were joined
there by some _Petits-Maitres_, who shewed us the most celebrated
beauties, and gave us their history, true, or false, not forgetting
themselves on every occasion, as you may well imagine. The garden
was already stock'd by a great number of women; but there arrived a
considerable reinforcement about eight o'clock. By the quantity of
their jewels, the magnificence of their dress, and the crowd of their
attendants, I took them for dutchesses at least. I spoke my thoughts to
one of the young lords of the company, whose answer was, that he found
I was a connoisseur; and if I was inclined, I should have the pleasure
of supping that very night with some of the most lovely of them. I
accepted his offer, and in an instant he slipt a word into the ears of
two or three of his friends, who dispersed themselves into different
parts of the walks, and in less than a quarter of an hour returned to
give us an account of their negotiation. 'Gentlemen,' said they to
us, 'you are expected this night to supper at the dutchess Asteria's.'
Those who were not of the party, congratulated us on our good fortune:
and after some turns in the gardens, they left us, and we went into our
coach, in order to reap the benefit of it.

"We alight at a little door, at the foot of a very narrow pair of
stairs, where we climbed up to a second floor; and I found the
appartments more spacious and better furnished than they would appear
to me at present. I was presented to the mistress of the house, to whom
I made one of the most profound reverences, which I accompanied with
so respectuous a compliment, that she was almost unhinged. Supper was
served up, and I was seated next to a little charming person, who fell
to acting the dutchess to admiration. Truly I can't tell how I dared
to fall in love with her: but so it was."

"Then you have loved once in your life," interrupted the favorite.
"Oh! yes, madam," replied Selim, "as people love at eighteen years of
age, with extreme impatience to conclude an affair just broach'd. I
had not a wink of sleep all that night, and at dawn of day I set about
composing a most gallant letter to my _Belle_. I sent it, received an
answer, and obtained a meeting. Neither the style of the answer, nor
the yielding temper of the lady, did undeceive me; and I flew to the
place of assignation, strongly perswaded that I was going to enjoy the
wife or daughter of a prime minister. My goddess was waiting for me on
a grand couch: I threw myself at her feet, took her hand, kissed it
with uncommon eagerness, and felicitated myself on the favor which she
condescended to grant me. 'Is it true,' said I, 'that you permit Selim
to love you, and to tell you so; and that he may, without offending
you, flatter himself with the sweetest hope?' On ending these words, I
snatch'd a kiss from her neck; and as she was recumbent I was preparing
to support the attack with vigor, when she stop'd me, and said: 'Hold,
my friend, you are a pretty lad, you have wit at will, you talk like
an angel; but I must have four _Louis d'or's_.' 'What do you say,'
interrupted I.----'I tell you,' replied she, 'there is nothing to be
done, if you have not brought four _Louis_'----'How, miss,' said I
quite amazed, 'is that your full value? It was well worth my while, to
be sure, to come from Congo for such a trifle.' And in a moment I put
myself in order, hurried down stairs, and left her.

"I began, madam, as you see, to mistake actresses for princesses." "I
am quite astonished at it," replied Mirzoza, "surely the difference
is very great." "I doubt not," said Selim, "but they were guilty of a
hundred impertinences. But what then? A young man, and a stranger too,
is not so nice an observer. And I had heard so many bad stories in
Congo, on the liberties taken by the European women.----"

Here Mangogul awak'd, and yawning and rubbing his eyes, said: "By the
L--d, he is still at Paris. Might one ask you, good Mr. Story-teller,
when you expect to be return'd to Banza, and how long I am doomed to
sleep: for 'tis proper you should know, my friend, that it is not
possible to broach an account of travels without throwing me into
yawnings. It is a bad habit, which I contracted in reading Tavernier
and other travellers."

"Prince," answered Selim, "it is above an hour since I am come back to
Banza."

"I congratulate you thereupon," replied the Sultan; and then turning to
the Sultana, "madam," said he, "the hour appointed for the masquerade
is come: we will set out, if the fatigue of the journey permits you."

"Prince," answered Mirzoza, "I am ready." Mangogul and Selim slipt on
their Domino's, and the favorite took hers likewise: the Sultan handed
her to the ball-room where they separated, in order to mix in the
crowd. Selim followed them, "and so did I," says the African author;
"tho' I had a stronger inclination to take a nap than to see the
dancing."



CHAP. XLII.

_Twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth trial of the ring._

Masquerade, and sequel of the masquerade.


The most extravagant Toys of Banza did not fail flocking whither
pleasure called them. Some came in city-coaches, some in public
vehicles, and some few on foot. "I should never finish," says the
African author, whose trainbearer I have the honour to be, "if I
enter'd into a detail of the tricks which Mangogul play'd on them."
He gave more exercise to his ring that night alone, than it ever had
had, since the Genius presented him with it. He turn'd it sometimes on
one, sometimes on another, and frequently on twenty together; and then
it was, that the noise they made was ravishing; One cried out with a
squeaking voice, "Violins, pray give us _le Carillon de Dunkerque_;"
another in a hoarse voice, "I will have the _Sautriots_;" "and I the
_Tricotets_," said a third: and a multitude at once call'd for old
country-dances, such as _la Bourée, les quatre faces, la Calotine, la
Chaine, le Pistolet, la Mariée, le Pistolet, le Pistolet, le Pistolet_.
All these cries were interlarded with a million of extravagances.
On one side was heard: _Plague take the noodle, let him be sent to
school._ On another, _Must I return then without my earnest?_ Here,
_who pays my coach?_ There, _he has slipt away from me, but I'll hunt
him till I find him._ And again, _till to-morrow; but twenty Louis's
at least, or there's nothing to be done._ And every where in short,
speeches, which expressed desires or exploits.

In the crowd, a citizen's daughter, young and pretty, singled out
Mangogul, pursued him, and provoked him so, that he turned his ring
on her. Then was her Toy heard to cry out: "Why do you fly me? Stop,
charming mask, be not insensible to the ardor of a Toy, which burns
for you." The Sultan shock'd at this rash declaration, was determined
to punish the forward creature. He disappear'd, and sought among his
guards some one who was pretty much of his make, gave him his mask and
Domino, and abandoned him to the pursuits of the little female cit;
who being still deceived by appearances, continued to say a thousand
ridiculous things to him, whom she took for Mangogul.

The sham Sultan was no fool, he was one of those who could talk by
signs: he made one, which drew the _Belle_ into a lonesome place,
where, for above an hour, she imagined herself the favorite Sultana,
and God knows what mighty projects were working in her brain. But the
enchantment lasted not long. After she had surfeited the pretended
Sultan with caresses, she pray'd him to unmask; which he did, and
shewed a physiognomy armed with a large pair of whiskers, which did not
belong to Mangogul. "Oh! fy," cried the little wench, "fie"--"Fell mine
little Shoul," answered the Swiss, "fat you ail? Me tought mee done
you kood services enof, dat you no be angry at nowing mee." But his
goddess, without answering him, slipt nimbly thro' his hands, and was
lost in the crowd.

But even such of the Toys as did not aspire to so great honours, did
not fail of lighting on pleasure: and they all took the road back to
Banza, thoroughly satisfied with their journey.

As the company was withdrawing, Mangogul overheard two of his principal
officers at high words. "She is my mistress," says one, "I have kept
her these twelve months, and you are the first who has taken it into
his head to tread on my heels. Why do you make me uneasy? Nasses, my
friend, apply elsewhere; you will find a hundred lovely women, who will
think themselves too happy to possess you." "I love Amina," replied
Nasses. "I see none but her, who takes my fancy. She has given me
hopes, and you will give me leave to pursue them." "Hopes!" replied
Alibeg----"Yes, hopes"----"Zounds, that is not"----"I tell you, Sir,
that it is, and I expect satisfaction this moment for the lye you give
me." Down they went immediately into the court yard; their scymeters
were already drawn, and they were on the point of ending their dispute
in a tragical manner, when the Sultan stop'd them, and forbid them to
fight, before they had consulted their _Helena_.

They obeyed, and went to Amina's house, and Mangogul close after them.
"The ball has quite spent me," said she: "my eyes are dropping out of
my head. You are very cruel folks, to come the moment I was ready to
get into bed: but both of ye look very oddly. May I be informed what
brings ye hither?"----"A trifle," replied Alibeg. "This gentleman
boasts, and even loftily," added he, shewing his friend, "that you
give him hopes. Madam, how stands this matter?"--Amina was opening
her mouth, but the Sultan turning his ring that very instant, she
closed it, and her Toy answered for her----"In my opinion Nasses is
mistaken: no, it is not he that madam chooses. Has he not a lusty
footman who is a better man? Oh! how foolish these men are in imagining
that dignities, honours, titles, names, words void of meaning, impose
on Toys. Every one has his own philosophy, and ours consists in
distinguishing personal merit, true merit, from that which is but
imaginary. With Monsieur de Claville's leave, he knows less of that
subject than we; which I will prove.

"You are both acquainted," continued the Toy, "with the marchioness
Bibicosa. You know her amours with Cleandor, as also her disgrace, and
the high devotion she professes at this day. Amina is a good friend;
she has constantly kept up her former intimacy with Bibicosa, and
has not ceased frequenting her house, where all sorts of Bramins are
met with. On a certain day one of these pressed my mistress to speak
to Bibicosa in his favor. 'Pray, what would you have me ask of her?'
replied Amina. 'She is a drowned woman, who can do nothing for herself.
To be sure, she will be much obliged to you for treating her still as
a person of consequence. Believe me, my friend, prince Cleandor and
Mangogul will never do any thing for her, and you may freeze in the
anti-chambers.'----'But, madam,' replied the Bramin, 'the affair is but
a trifle, which entirely depends on the marchioness: and this it is.
She has built a little chapel in her house, doubtless for the Sala,
which supposes an Iman: and 'tis this place which I ask'----'What say
you?' says Amina. 'An Iman: you don't consider: the marchioness wants
only a Marabou, whom she will call from time to time, when it rains,
or when she chooses to have the Sala, before she goes to bed: but an
Iman lodged, cloathed, dieted in her house, with a salary, does not
suit Bibicosa. I know her affairs. The poor woman has not six thousand
Zecchins a year, and you expert her to give two thousand of it to an
Iman. Surely this is a strange fancy.'----'By Brama,' replied the
holy man, 'I am sorry for it: for if I had once got to be her Iman,
I should soon become more necessary to her; and when one is got
thus far, it rains gold and pensions. Howsoever I may appear to you,
I am of Monomotapa, and do my duty extremely well.'----'Upon second
thoughts,' answered Amina, with panting interruptions, 'your affair is
not perhaps impossible. Pity it is, that the merit you speak of is not
known.'----'One runs no risque in doing good offices to persons of my
country,' replied the Monomotapan, 'pray behold.'----He forthwith gave
Amina a complete proof of such surprising merit, that from that moment
you lost in her eyes half the value she put on you. Well! long live the
Monomotapans."

Alibeg and Nasses made long faces, and look'd on each other without
uttering a word: but when they had recovered from their astonishment,
they mutually embraced; and casting disdainful looks on Amina, they
ran prostrate themselves at the Sultan's feet, and thank him for having
undeceived them with regard to this woman, and preserved their lives
and reciprocal friendship. They arrived just as Mangogul, return'd to
the favorite, was relating Amina's history to her. It made Mirzoza
laugh, but did not augment her esteem for the court ladies and the
Bramins.



CHAP. XLIII.

_Selim at Banza._


From the masquerade Mangogul went immediately to take rest; but the
favorite finding that she had no inclination to sleep, sent for Selim,
and pressed him to continue the history of his amours. Selim obeyed,
and resumed the discourse in these terms.

"Madam, galantry did not fill up all my time: I snatched some
moments from pleasure, which I bestowed on serious occupations; and
the intrigues in which I was embarked, did not prevent my learning
fortification, riding, fencing, music and dancing; observing the
customs and arts of the Europeans, and studying their politicks and
military art. On my return to Congo, I was presented to the Emperor,
grandfather to the Sultan, who granted me an honourable post in his
troops; and I soon was made one of all the parties of the prince
Erguebzed, and consequently concerned in the adventures of pretty
women. I was acquainted with some of all nations, ages, and conditions,
and found very few cruel; whether it was that my rank dazzled them,
that my prattle pleased them, or my person struck them. At that time I
had two qualities, with which a rapid progress is made in love-affairs;
assurance and presumption.

"At first I dealt among the women of quality. I took them in the
evening in the circle, or at play at the Manimonbanda's: I passed
the night with them, and we hardly knew each other in the morning.
One of the occupations of these ladies, is to procure lovers, nay,
to decoy them away from their best female friends; and the other, to
get rid of them. Thro' apprehensions of ever being unprovided, while
they are enjoying the sweets of one intrigue, they squint at two or
three others. They possess a number of little arts to attract the man
they have in view, and a thousand tricks in reserve, to disengage
themselves from their present spark. This has always been, and always
will be. I shall name no body; but I knew every woman of Erguebzed's
court, who had any reputation for youth and beauty; and all these
engagements were formed, broken off, resumed, forgot, in less than six
months.

"Disgusted with that world, I passed into its antipodes. I visited
the citizen's wives, whom I found dissembling, vain of their beauty,
perched on the pinacle of honour, and almost constantly beset with
savage brutal husbands, or certain splaw-footed cousins, who acted the
passionate lovers with their female cousins from morning till night,
and were very disagreeable to me. It was impossible to be alone with
these women one moment. Those animals broke in upon us perpetually,
disconcerted a rendezvous; and thrust themselves into all our
conversations. These obstacles notwithstanding, I brought five or six
of these prattling creatures to my intended point, before I finished
with any one of them. What diverted me much in their commerce, was,
that they piqued themselves, on delicacy of sentiments, and I must
value myself on the same; and they talk'd on that subject eno' to make
one die with laughing. Besides, they required assiduity of attendance;
and in their dialect I was continually deficient in this point. They
preached such correct love, that there was a necessity of renouncing
it. But the worst of all was, that they had your name eternally in
their mouths, and that sometimes one was obliged to appear in public
with them, and incur all the ridicule of a city adventure. Wherefore
on a fine summer's day I bid adieu to their shops and the whole rue St.
Denis for ever.

"People had then the madness of keeping private lodges. I hired one in
the eastern suburb, and there successively had some of those girls who
are seen and not seen; to whom one speaks, and says not a word; and
whom we discard, when tired of them. I frequently mustered a set of
friends and opera actresses together, and gave little suppers, which
prince Erguebzed now and then honoured with his presence. Ah! madam, I
had delicious wines, exquisite cordials, and the best cook in Congo.

"But nothing gave me so great amusement as an enterprize which I
executed in a province remote from the capital, where my regiment was
in quarters. I set out from Banza to review it; and as that was my
only business, I should have been quickly back, were it not for the
extravagant project to which I devoted myself. At Baruthi there was
a monastery of very beautiful nuns. I was young and beardless; and
I contrived how to get admission under the disguise of a widow, who
sought an asylum against the dangers of the age. I ordered womens
cloaths to be made for me, then dressed myself, and went to offer
myself at the grate of those recluses. I met with a very tender
reception: they comforted me for the loss of my husband; the price of
my board was agreed on, and in I went.

"The appartment appointed me had a communication with the dormitory
of the novices. They were very numerous, most of them young, and of
a surprising bloom. I was extremely polite to them, and soon became
their bosom friend. In less than eight days I was let into all the
interests of the little republic, informed of the several characters,
and instructed in their secret history; I received confidences of all
colours, and found that detraction and calumny are not better managed
by us profane mortals. I observed their rules with severity, catch'd
the wheedling air and smooth canting tone: and they whispered to each
other, that the community would be happy, if I took the habit.

"No sooner had I thought my reputation established in the house, but
I fixed upon a young virgin, who had just taken the first veil. She
was an adorable nut-brown girl: she called me her mamma, and I called
her my little angel. She gave me innocent kisses, and I returned very
tender ones. Youth is curious: Zirziphila put me daily on the subject
of matrimony, and the pleasure of husbands, and desired me to inform
her: I artfully whetted her curiosity; and from question to question I
led her to the practice of the lessons which I gave her. She was not
the only novice that I instructed; and some young nuns came likewise to
be edified in my cell. I managed the hours and meetings so dexterously,
that no one interfered with another. In fine, madam, what shall I tell
you? The pious widow made a numerous progeny. But when the scandal,
which caused many a secret sigh, broke out, and a council of discreet
matrons met, and sent for the physician of the convent; I meditated
my retreat. Wherefore in the dead of the night, when the whole house
was asleep, I scaled the garden wall, and disappeared. I went to the
waters of Piombino, whither the physician had sent half the convent;
and there, in the habit of a cavalier, I finished the work, which I had
begun under that of a widow. This, madam, is a fact which the whole
empire remembers, and of which you alone know the author.

"The rest of my youth," added Selim, "was spent in the like amusements,
always women, and of all sorts, seldom any mystery, a number of oaths,
and no sincerity." "But at this rate," says the favorite, "you have
never been in love?" "Psha!" replied Selim, "I thought much of love
at that time; I aim'd at pleasure only, and at those women who were
most likely to afford it me"----"But," interrupted the favorite, "is
there any pleasure without loving? What can it be, when the heart says
nothing?" "Alas! madam," rejoined Selim, "is it the heart that speaks
at the age of eighteen or twenty?"

"But in fine, what is the result of all these experiments? What have
you pronounced on women?"

"That most women have no character at all," says Selim. "That they are
most powerfully influenced by three things, interest, pleasure and
vanity; that perhaps there is not one of them who is not governed by
one of these passions; and that those who join all the three together,
are monsters."

"As for pleasure, that I can allow them," said Mangogul, who had just
then joined the company: "though little dependance can be had on this
sort of women, yet they are to be excused. When the constitution is
wound up to a certain pitch, it is an unruly horse, which carries his
rider over hedges and ditches; and most women are mounted astride on
that beast." "'Tis probably for that reason," says Selim, "that the
dutchess Menega calls the Chevalier Kaidar her master of the horse."

"But is it possible," says the Sultana to Selim, "that you have not
had the least adventure, in which the heart was concerned. Will
your sincerity tend only to dishonour a sex which constituted your
pleasures, if you were their darling. What! in so great a number of
women, not one that desired, and even deserved to be beloved; that is
not to be conceived."

"Ah! madam," replied Selim, "I feel, by the readiness with which I obey
you, that years have not weakened the empire of a lovely woman over my
heart. Yes, madam, I have loved like other folks. You desire to know
all; I am going to tell all, and you will judge if I have performed a
lover's part in all the forms."

"Are there any travels in this part of your history?" says the Sultan.
"No, prince," replied Selim. "So much the better," says Mangogul, "for
I find no propensity to sleep."

"For my part," rejoined the favorite, "Selim will allow me to take a
little rest."

"Let him go to bed likewise," says the Sultan; "and while ye both are
reposing, I will interrogate Cypria."

"But, prince," answered Mirzoza, "your highness does not reflect, that
that Toy will lead you into a string of voyages without end."

The African author informs us in this place, that the Sultan, struck
with Mirzoza's observation, took care to provide a most powerful
antihypnotic. He adds, that Mangogul's physician, being his intimate
friend, had given him the prescription, and that he had put it in to
the preface of his book: but of that preface there remains no more
than; the three last lines, which are as follow.

 Take of----
 of----
 of----
 of _Mariamne, and the Paysan Par_, four pages.
 of the _Egaremens du Coeur_, one sheet.
 of the _Confessions_, twenty five lines and a half.



CHAP. XLIV.

_Twenty-sixth trial of the Ring._

The rambling Toy.


While the favorite and Selim were reposing after the fatigues of the
preceding day, Mangogul was viewing with astonishment the magnificent
appartments of Cypria. This woman had, by means of her Toy, made a
fortune equal to that of a general farmer of the revenue. After having
been through a long row of chambers, each surpassing the other in
richness and elegance of furniture, he came to the great salon; where,
in the midst of a numerous circle, he distinguished the mistress of
the house by the enormous quantity of jewels, which disfigured her;
and her husband, by the good-manship painted on his countenance.
Two _Abbés_, a wit, and three academicians of Banza, were posted at
the sides of Cypria's easy chair; and towards the end of the salon
fluttered about two _Petits-Maitres_, and a young magistrate full
of airs, blowing on his ruffles, incessantly adjusting his peruke,
visiting his mouth, and complimenting himself in the glass that his
paint held on so well. Except these three butterflies, all the company
was in profound veneration for the honorable mummy, who was seated in
an indecent posture, yawned, spoke while she yawned, judged of every
thing, judged ill of every thing, and was never contradicted. "How,"
said Mangogul within himself, who had not talked alone of a long time,
and was chagrined at it; "how came she to have it in her power to
dishonor a man of a good family, with so wrong a turn of mind, and
such a figure as she makes?" Cypria would fain pass for fair; tho' her
skin, tawney striped with red, had a good resemblance with a variegated
Tulip. With large eyes, she was short-sighted; she was of a squat
shape, crowded features, with a long slender nose, a flat mouth, hollow
cheeks, and a narrow forehead; no neck, a dry hand, and skinny arm.
With those charms it was, that she inchanted her husband. The Sultan
turn'd his ring on her, and instantly she began to open. The company
were deceived, thinking that Cypria spoke from her mouth, and that she
was going to pass judgment: whereas her Toy began in these words.

"The history of my travels. I was born in Morocco, in the year
17000000012; and I danced on the stage of the opera, when Mehemet
Tripathoud, who kept me, was named ambassador extraordinary from our
potent emperor to the monarch France. I followed him in this ambassy.
The charms of the French women soon robbed me of my lover; and I
speedily made reprisals. The courtiers greedy of novelty, would needs
try Maroquine: for thus they nick-named my mistress. She treated them
with great humanity; and her affability in six months brought her in
twenty thousand crowns in jewels, as much more in cash, and a neat well
furnished house. But the French are fickle, and I soon ceased to be in
fashion. I did not mispend my time in galloping about the provinces:
great talents require vast theatres. I suffered Tripathoud to return
without me; and I devoted myself to the metropolis of another kingdom.

"Un my lord tres opulent, qui voyageoit en France, m'entraina a
Londres. Oui, c'etoit la vraiment un homme. Il m'arrosoit six fois
par jour, et six autres fois par nuit. Son v--t lancoit des dards de
feu, comme la queue d'une Comete. Jamais n'ai-je ressenti des bottes
si vives et si bien appliquées. Mais il n'etoit pas possible à la
prouesse humaine de continuer ce train long tems: aussi se rallentit-il
peu à peu, et je recus son ame distillée par son _Penis_. Il me fit
present de cinquante mil guinées. A ce noble Seigneur succederent
deux amateurs nouvellement revenus de course. Comme ils etoient amis
intimes, ils me chevauchoient, comme ils avoient voyagés, en compagnie;
chacun faisant tous ses efforts pour surpasser l'autre en vigeur et en
feu. Pendant que l'un etoit a la rade, je remorqueois l'autre par son
v--t, et je le preparois à une nouvelle attaque. Par un calcul tres
moderé je contai cent quatre-vingt coups de balles, que je recus en
huit jours. Mais je m'ennuiai bientot de tenir un compte si exacte: car
leurs bordées ne finissoient pas. Ils me payerent douze mil guinées
pour ma part des captures qu'ils avaient faites. Dés que l'hiver fut
passé, ils furent contraints de mettre à la voile; et ils auroient bien
voulu m'engager en qualité d'Allege: mais j'avois deja fait contract
avec un Comte Allemand.

"Duxit me Viennam in Austria patriam suam, ubi venereâ voluptate,
quantâ maximâ poteram, ingurgitatus sum, per menses tres integros ejus
splendidè nimis epulatus hospes. Illi, rugosi et contracti Lotharingo
more colei, et eo usque longa crassaque mentula, ut dimidiam nondum
acciperem, quamvis iterato coitu fractus rictus mihi miserè pateret.
Immanem ast usu frequenti vagina tandem admisit laxè gladium; novasque
excogitavimus artes, quibus fututionum quotidianaram vinceremus
fastidium. Modò me resupinum agitabat; modò ipsum, eques adhærescens
inguinibus, motu quasi tolutario versabam. Sæpe turgentem spumantemque
admovit ori priapum, simulque appressis ad labia labiis, fellatrice
me linguâ perfricuit. Etsi veneri nunquam indulgebat posticæ, à tergo
me tamen adorsus, cruribus altera sublato, altera depresso, inter
femora subibat, voluptaria quærens per impedimenta transire. Amatoria
Sanchesii præcepta calluit ad unguem, et festivas Aretini tabulas
sic expressit, ut nemo melius. His a me laudibus acceptis, multis
florenorum millibus mea solvit obsequia, et Romam secessi.

"Quella Citta è il tempio de Venere, ed il soggiorno delle delizie.
Tuttavia mi dispiaceva, que le natiche leggiadre sossero là encora più
festeggiate delle più belle potte; quello che provai il terno giorno
del mio arrivo in quel paese. Una Cortigiana illustre si offerisce a
farmi guadagnare mila scudi, s'io voleva passar la sera con esso lei in
una vigna. Accettai l'invito; salimmo in una carozza, e giungemmo in un
luogo da lei ben conosciuto, nel quale due cavaliere colle braghenesse
rosse si fecero incontro à noi, e ci condussero in un boschetto spesso
e solto, dove cavatosi subito le vesti, vedemmo i più furiosi cazzi
che risaltero mai. Ogn'uno chiavò la sua. Il trastullo poi si prese
à quadrille, dopo per farsi guattare in bocca, poscia nelle tette;
alla perfine, uno de chiavatori impadronissi del mio rivale, mentro
l'altro mi lavorava. L'istesso fu fatto alla conduttrice mia; e ciò
tutto dolcemente condito di bacci alla fiorentina. E quando i campioni
nostri ebbero posto fine alla battaglia, facemmo la fricardella per
risvegliar il gusto a quei benedetti Signori, i quali ci pagarono con
generosita. In più volte simili guadagnai con loro sessanta mila scudi;
e due altre volte tanto, con colloro che mi proccurava la Cortigiana.
Mi ricordo di uno che visitava mi spesso, e che sborrava sempre due
volte senza cavarlo; e d'un altro il quale usciva da me pian piano, per
entrare sotilmente nel mio vicino; e per questo bastava fare sù e giù
le natiche. Ecco una uzanza curiosa che si prattica in Italia."

Cypria's Toy continued her history; in a strain half Congese and half
Spanish. In all probability it was not a sufficient master of the
latter language, to employ it alone. "A language is not learnt," says
the African author, who would sooner hang himself, than miss a common
observation, "without talking it much:" and Cypria's Toy had little or
no time to talk at Madrid.

"I fled from Italy," said the Toy, "notwithstanding some secret desires
that called me back, influxo malo del clima! y tuve luego la resolucion
de ir me a una tierra donde pudiesse gozar mis fueros, sin partir los
con un usurpador. I travelled into old Castille, where I was brought
back to my simple functions: but this did not gratify my revenge. Le
impuse la tarea de batter el compas en los bayles che celebrava de
dia y de noche; and he performed so well, that we were reconciled.
We appear'd at the court of Madrid as good friends. Al entrar de la
ciudad, I link'd con un Pape venerable por sus canas: happily for me:
for he had compassion for my youth, and gave me a secret, the fruit of
sixty years experience, para guardar me del mal de que merecieron los
Franceses ser padrinos, por haver sido sus primeros pregones. With this
receipt, and a relish for cleanliness, which I vainly endeavoured to
introduce in Spain, I preserved myself from all accidents at Madrid,
where my vanity alone was mortified. My mistress, you know, has a
very little foot. Esta prenda es el incentivo mas poderoso de una
imaginacion Castellana. A little foot, serves for a pasport at Madrid
to a girl, que tiene la mas dilatada fima entre las piernas. I resolved
to quit a country, where I owed the greatest part of my triumphs to a
foreign merit; y me arrime a un definidor muy virtuoso que passava a
las Indias. Under the wings of his reverence I saw the land of promise,
that country where the happy mortal without scandal carries gold in
his purse, a ponyard under his girdle, and his mistress behind him.
How delightful a life is spent there! What nights! Gods, what nights!
Hay de mi! al recordarme de tantos gustos me méo----Algo mas----Ya,
ya---Pierdo il sentido----Me muero----

"After spending a year at Madrid, and in America, I embarked for
Constantinople. There I could not relish the customs of a people, by
whom Toys are lock'd up; and I soon quitted a country, in which my
liberty was in danger. However, I practised sufficiently with the
Mussulmans, to perceive that they are much improved by their commerce
with the Europeans: and I found in them the levity of the French, the
ardor of the English, the strength of the Germans, the longanimity
of the Spaniards, together with strong tinctures of the Italian
refinements: in a word, a single Aga is worth a cardinal, four dukes, a
lord, three grandees of Spain, and two German princes.

"From Constantinople I came, as you know, gentlemen, to the court of
the great Erguebzed, where I formed the most amiable of our nobility:
and when at length I became good for nought, I threw myself on that odd
figure there," says the Toy, singling out Cypria's husband by a certain
familiar gesture. "Gods, what a fall!"

The African author closes this chapter with an advertisement to
the ladies, who might be tempted to order a translation of those
parts of the the narrative, where Cypria's Toy expressed itself in
foreign languages. "I should be wanting," says he, "to the duty of
an historian, by suppressing them; and to the respect which I bear
the sex, by preserving them in my work; without acquainting virtuous
ladies, that Cypria's Toy had excessively spoil'd its speech in
travelling, and that its narratives are infinitely more free than any
of the clandestine lectures which it ever made."



CHAP. XLV.

_Cydalisa._


Mangogul returned to the favorite, where Selim was come before him.
"Well, prince," said Mirzoza, "has the account of Cypria's travels
done you any good?" "Neither good nor harm," answered the Sultan: "I
understood it not." "Why so?" replied the favorite. "Because," says the
Sultan, "her Toy speaks like a Polyglot, all languages but mine. It is
an impertinent Story-teller, but would make a excellent interpreter."
"What!" replied Mirzoza, "did you gather nothing at all from her
narrative?" "But one thing, madam," answered Mangogul, "and that is,
that travelling is more pernicious, if possible, to the modesty of
the women, than to the religion of the men; and that there is very
little merit in knowing many languages. For one may be master of Greek,
Latin, Italian, French, Spanish, and the language of Congo, and yet
have no more sense than a Toy. Is this your opinion, madam? and what is
Selim's? Now let him begin his story: but above all, no more travels.
They fatigue me to death." Selim promised the Sultan, that the scene
should be confined to one place, and spoke thus.

"I was about thirty years of age when I lost my father: I married to
keep up my family, and I lived with my wife as becomes a husband;
regards, attentions, politeness, decent behavior without much
familiarity. The prince Erguebzed came to the throne: I had been in
his good graces long before his reign: he continued me in them to his
death, and I endeavour'd to do justice to this mark of distinction by
my zeal and fidelity. The place of inspector general of his armies
became vacant: I obtained it, and this post obliged me to take frequent
journies to the frontiers."

"Frequent journies?" cried the Sultan. "A single one is sufficient to
make me sleep till to morrow. Think of that."

"Prince," continued Selim, "it was in one of these tours that I became
acquainted with the wife of a colonel of the Spahi's, whose name was
Ostaluk, a man of bravery, and a good officer, but by no means an
agreeable husband, jealous as a tyger, and his person was a sufficient
warrant to justify that madness: for he was horribly ugly.

"He had lately espoused Cydalisa, young, lively, handsome; one of those
uncommon women, for whom, at the first interview, one feels somewhat
more than politeness, from whom one parts with regret, and who return a
hundred times to your thoughts, till you see them again.

"Cydalisa had a just way of thinking, expressed herself with grace: her
conversation was engaging, and if a person was never tired of seeing
her, he was still less so of hearing her. With these qualities she had
a right to make strong impressions on every heart, and I felt their
effects. I esteemed her much; from esteem I soon ran into tenderness,
and all my proceedings immediately assumed the true colour of a strong
passion. The ease with which I obtained my former triumphs, had
somewhat spoiled me: when I attacked Cydalisa, I imagined she would
not hold out long; and that being very much honoured by the pursuit
of Mr. Inspector General, she would only make a decent defence. Judge
then at the surprise I was thrown into by the answer which she made
to my declaration. 'My lord,' said she, 'altho' I had the presumption
to believe that you are touched with some charms, which I am thought
to have; yet I should be a fool to listen seriously to those same
discourses with which you have deceived thousands, before you addressed
them to me. Without esteem, what is love? A trifle, and you do not
know me sufficiently to esteem me. Whatever judgment and penetration
a person may have, he cannot in two days time enter deep enough into
the character of a woman, to say that she deserves to be adored. Mr.
Inspector General seeks an amusement; he is in the right; and so is
Cydalisa too, in amusing no body.'

"In vain did I swear to the sincerity of my passion, that my happiness
was in her hands, and that her indifference would poison the rest of
my life. 'Jargon,' said she, 'pure jargon. Either think no more of
me, or do not believe me stupid enough to be catch'd by those trite
protestations. What you have just said to me, every body says without
thinking of it, and every body hears without believing it.'

"If I had had but a bare liking to Cydalisa, her severity would have
mortified me: but as I loved her, it afflicted me. I set out for the
court: her image followed me thither; and absence, far from weakening
the passion which I had conceived for her, did but augment it.

"Cydalisa had so far taken possession of me, that I thought a hundred
times to make a sacrifice to her of the employments and rank which
bound me to the court: but the uncertainty of success always withheld
me.

"In the impossibility of flying to the place where I left her, I formed
a project to bring her where I was. I took advantage of the confidence
with which Erguebzed honoured me, by extolling the merit and valor of
Ostaluk. He was named lieutenant of the Spahi's of his guard, an office
which fixed him near the prince; and Ostaluk appeared at court, and
with him Cydalisa, who instantly became the beauty of the day."

"You did well," says the Sultan, "to keep your employments, and call
your Cydalisa to court: for I swear to you by Brama, that I should
have suffered you to set out alone for the province she was in."

"She was ogled, surveyed, beset, but all in vain," continued Selim.
"I enjoyed the sole privilege of seeing her every day. The more I
visited her, the more graces and good qualities I perceived in her,
and the more desperately I became enamoured. I fancied that possibly
the remembrance of my numerous adventures might injure me in her mind;
in order to efface it, and convince her of the sincerity of my love,
I banished myself from company, and I saw no women but those which
chance threw in my way at her house. It seemed to me as if this conduct
had some effect on her, and that she relaxed somewhat of her former
severity. I doubled my diligence, I asked for love, and she granted me
esteem. Cydalisa began to treat me with distinction. I had some share
in her confidence: she often consulted me on her family affairs, but
was quite silent on those of her heart. If I expressed myself in tender
sentiments, she answered me in maxims, which made me mad. This painful
state had lasted a long time, when I took up the resolution to get out
of it, and to know positively once for all, what I might depend on."
"How did you set about it?" said Mirzoza. "Madam, you will soon be
informed," answered Mangogul: and Selim continued.

"I have told you, madam, that I saw Cydalisa every day: I began by
seeing her less frequently, I went on by slackening my visits more
and more, till infine I scarce saw her at all. Whenever I happened to
converse with her _tête à tête_, I spoke as little of love as if I had
never felt the least spark of it. This change astonished her: she
suspected me of some secret engagement, and one day, as I was making
her a narrative of the galantries of the court, 'Selim,' said she to
me with an air of confusion, 'you tell me nothing concerning yourself:
you relate the good fortune of others charmingly, but you are very
discreet with regard to your own.' 'Madam,' answered I, ''tis probably
because I have none, or that I think it is proper to conceal it.' 'To
be true,' interrupted she, ''tis of vast consequence to conceal those
things to day, which all the world will know to morrow.' 'Be that as it
will, madam,' replied I, 'yet at least nobody shall have them from me.'
'Indeed,' said she, 'you are quite marvellous with your reserves; but
pray who does not know that you have designs upon the fair Misis, the
little Zibelina, and the nut-brown Sephera?' 'And on whom you please
besides, madam,' added I coldly. 'Truly,' replied she, 'I can easily
believe that these are not all: these two months past, that the sight
of you is a favour, you have not been idle, and business goes on fast
with those ladies.' 'I, to remain idle,' answered I; 'I should never
forgive myself. My heart is made to love, and somewhat to be beloved
too; and I will go so far as to own that it is: but ask me no farther
questions on this head, perhaps I have already said too much.'

"'Selim,' replied she seriously, 'I have no secret for you,
and you shall have none for me, if you please. How far are you
advanced?'----'Almost to the end of the novel'----'And with whom?'
said she earnestly----'You know Marteza'--'Yes, sure; she is a very
amiable woman.' 'Well then, after having in vain tried all means
to please you, I turned to that side. I was wished for above half a
year; two interviews levell'd the outworks, a third will compleat
my happiness; and this very night Marteza expects me to supper. Her
conversation is amusing, light, and a little caustic; but, that
excepted, she is the best creature in the world. A person transacts
his little affairs better with those giggling women, than with those
lofty dames, who.'----'But, my Lord,' interrupted Cydalisa with a
down-cast look, 'in complimenting you on your choice, may one observe
to you, that Marteza is not new, and that before you, she has reckoned
lovers?'----'What is that to me, madam?' replied I. 'If Marteza
loves me sincerely, I look on myself as her first. But the hour of
my appointment draws near, permit me.'----'One word more, my Lord.
Is it really true that Marteza loves you?----'I believe it.'----'And
you love her?' added Cydalisa.----'Madam,' answered I, ''tis you
that have thrown me into the arms of Marteza: I need say no more to
you.'----I was departing, but Cydalisa pull'd me by my Doliman, and
turned back in a hurry.----'Does madam want to speak with me? Has she
any commands for me?'----'No, Sir, how, are you there still? I thought
you were a good way off by this time.'----'Madam, I will double my
pace.'----'Selim'----'Cydalisa.'----'Then you are going?'----'Yes,
madam.'----'Ah! Selim, to whom do you sacrifice me? Was not Cydalisa's
esteem of greater value than the favors of a Marteza?'----'Without
doubt, madam,' replied I, 'if I had nothing more than esteem for you.
But I loved you.'----'It is not so,' cried she with transport: 'if
you had loved me, you would have distinguished my real sentiments;
you would have been prepossessed with them, you would have flattered
yourself, that your perseverance would in time get the better of my
pride: but you grew tired, you have abandoned me, and perhaps in the
very moment'----At this word Cydalisa stopt short, a sigh slipt from
her, and her eyes were wet.--'Speak, madam,' said I, 'make an end. If
my tenderness lasted still, notwithstanding your rigorous treatment,
could you.'----'I can do nothing, you do no longer love me, and Marteza
waits for you.'----'If Marteza was indifferent to me; if Cydalisa was
dearer to me than ever, what would you do?'--'It would be folly to
explain myself on suppositions.'----'Cydalisa, I beseech you to answer
me, as if I had supposed nothing. If Cydalisa was constantly the most
lovely of her sex in my eyes; and if I never had the least design on
Marteza; once again what would you do?'----'What I have always done,
ingrateful man,' answered at length Cydalisa: 'I would love you.'--'And
Selim adores you,' said I, falling on my knees, and kissing her
hands which I water'd with my tears. Cydalisa was struck dumb, this
unexpected change threw her into the utmost confusion: I took advantage
of her disorder, and our reconciliation was sealed by certain marks of
tenderness, which she had not power to refuse."

"And what did the good natured Ostaluk say to this?" interrupted
Mangogul. "Doubtless he allowed his dear half to be generous to a man,
to whom he was indebted for his lieutenancy of the Spahi's."

"Prince," replied Selim, "Ostaluk shewed great gratitude, whilst I
was not listened to; but no sooner was I made happy, but he became
troublesome, ill-humour'd, insupportable to me, and brutal to his wife.
Not content with disturbing us in person, he caused us to be watched,
we were betrayed, and Ostaluk, convinced of his pretended dishonour,
had the impudence to challenge me to a duel. We fought in the great
park of the Seraglio: I gave him two wounds, and obliged him to own
himself indebted to me for his life.

"While he was under cure of his wounds, I never quitted his wife: but
the first use that he made of his recovery, was to part us and ill-use
Cydalisa. She sent me a pathetic account of her unhappy situation: I
proposed carrying her off, to which she consented, and our jealous
pate, returning from the chase, wherein he attended the Sultan, was
vastly surprized to find himself a widower. Ostaluk, instead of giving
vent to his passion in useless complaints against the author of the
rape, instantly meditated revenge.

"I had Cydalisa in a country house, two leagues from Banza; and every
other night I stole out of town, and went to Cisara. Mean while Ostaluk
set a price on the head of his false one, bribed my servants, and was
let into my park. That evening I was enjoying the refreshing breeze
there with Cydalisa; we were got to the remoter end of a dark walk, and
I was on the point of lavishing the most tender caresses on her, when
an invisible hand pierced her breast with a ponyard before my eyes. It
was the hand of cruel Ostaluk. The same fate hung over my head: but
I prevented Ostaluk, I drew my dagger, and Cydalisa was revenged. I
ran to the dear woman: her heart still panted: I hastened to carry her
to the house, but before I reached it she expired, her mouth closely
pressing on mine.

"When I perceived Cydalisa's limbs to grow stiff in my arms, I cryed
out with vehemence: my people ran to me, and forced me away from this
place of horror. I returned to Banza, and shut myself up in my palace,
excessively grieved at Cydalisa's death, and loading myself with the
most cruel reproaches. I loved Cydalisa sincerely, and was passionately
beloved by her; and I was at full leisure to consider the greatness of
the loss, which I had sustained, and to mourn for her."

"But at length," said the favorite, "you comforted your self?" "Alas!
madam," replied Selim, "I thought I never should; but this one thing I
have learnt by it, that there is no grief eternal."

"Well," said Mirzoza, "let me hear no more of the men: there they
are all. That is to say, Signor Selim, that this poor Cydalisa,
whose history has moved us to compassion, and whom you have so much
regretted, was a great fool to rely on your oath; and that, while Brama
perhaps chastises her severely for her credulity, you pass your time
pleasantly enough in the arms of another."

"Pray, madam," replied the Sultan, "calm your self: Selim loves again,
Cydalisa will be revenged." "Sir," answered Selim, "your highness
may possibly be misinformed. Ought I not to have learnt, once for my
whole life, by my adventure with Cydalisa, that true love was too
prejudicial to happiness?"--"Without doubt," interrupted Mirzoza,
"and yet I would lay a wager, notwithstanding your philosophical
reflections, that you actually love another more ardently than--"

"More ardently," replied Selim, "I dare not assert: these five years
past I am attached, but attached from my heart to a charming woman.
It was not without difficulty, that I made her listen to me, for she
had always been of a virtue!"--"Virtue!" cried the Sultan; "courage,
my friend, I am charmed, when one talks to me of the virtue of a court
lady." "Selim," said the favorite, "continue your story:" "and always
believe, as a good mussulman, in the fidelity of your mistress,"
added the Sultan. "Ah! prince," replied Selim with vivacity, "Fulvia
is faithful to me:" "faithful, or not," answered Mangogul, "what is
that to your happiness? You believe it, and that is sufficient?" "Oh
then! 'tis Fulvia that you are now in love with," said the favorite.
"Yes, madam," answered Selim. "So much the worse, my friend," added
Mangogul: "I have not a grain of faith in her. She is perpetually beset
by Bramins, and these Bramins are terrible fellows: besides, I find she
has little Chinese eyes, with a turn'd up nose; and an air thoroughly
inclining to the side of pleasure. Between us, is this true?" "Prince,"
answered Selim, "I believe she has no aversion to it." "Well," replied
the Sultan, "every thing gives way to that charm: which you ought to
know better than I, or you are not"--"You are mistaken," replied the
favorite, "a man may have all the sense in the world, and not know
that. I wager"--"Always wagers," interrupted Mangogul: "I am out of
all patience; those women are incorrigible. Pray, madam, win your
castle, and lay wagers afterward."

"Madam," says Selim to the favorite, "might not Fulvia be of use to you
in some station or other?" "As how?" ask'd Mirzoza. "I have observed,"
answered the courtier, "that the Toys have seldom or never spoke,
but in presence of his highness; and I have fancied, that the Genius
Cucufa, who has done so many surprising things in favour of Kanaglou
the Sultan's grand-father, might have endowed his grand-son with the
gift of making them speak. But Fulvia's Toy has not as yet opened
its mouth, as far as I could ever learn: might it not be possible to
interrogate it, in order to procure you the castle, and to convince
me of the fidelity of my mistress?" "Doubtless," replied the Sultan;
"what is your opinion, madam?" "Oh! I shall not meddle in so ticklish
an affair. Selim is too much my friend, to expose him, for the sake of
a castle; to the risque of being made unhappy the rest of his days."
"But you do not consider," replied the Sultan: "Fulvia is virtuous:
Selim would run his hand into the fire to prove it. He has said it, and
he is not a man to flinch from his word." "No, Prince," answered Selim,
"and if your highness will give me a meeting at Fulvia's house, I will
certainly be there before you." "Be cautious of what you propose,"
replied the favorite. "Selim, my poor Selim, you go very fast, and how
worthy soever you are of being beloved"--"Fear not, madam; since the
dye is cast, I will hear Fulvia: the worst that can befal me, is to
lose a faithless woman." "And to die of regret," added the Sultana,
"for having lost her." "What a romance," says Mangogul. "You believe
then that Selim is become very weak. He has lost the lovely Cydalisa,
and yet there he is full of life; and you pretend, that if he happened
to find Fulvia unfaithful to him, it would kill him. I'll insure him
to you as immortal, if he is never demolished but by that stroke.
Selim, to morrow at Fulvia's, do you hear? you will have notice of
the hour." Selim bow'd, Mangogul quitted the company: the favorite
continued to remonstrate to the old courtier, that he play'd a high
game. Selim thank'd her for her tokens of good will, and each retired
in expectation of the great event.



CHAP. XLVI.

_Twenty-seventh Trial of the Ring._

Fulvia.


The African author, who had promised to bring Selim's character into
some part of his book, has thought fit to place it here: and I have
too much esteem for the works of antiquity, to assert that it would
come in better some where else. "There are," says he, "some men, whose
merit gives them access every where, who by their graceful person, and
free easy wit, are in their youth the darlings of many women; and whose
gray hairs are respected, because having known how to reconcile their
duties with their pleasures, they have rendered their middle stage
of life illustrious, by services done for the state: in a word, men,
who at all times are the delight of society. Such was Selim. Though he
had reached sixty years, and that he had entered the list of pleasure
early; a strong constitution and some management had preserved him from
the infirmities of age. A noble air, an easy carriage, insinuating
language, a great knowledge of the world, founded on long experience,
the habit of dealing with the sex, made him to be regarded at court,
as a man whom every body would chuse to resemble, but who would be
unsuccessfully copied, for want of being endowed by nature with the
talents and genius which had distinguished him.

"Now I desire to know," continues the African author, "if this man had
reason to make himself uneasy on the score of a mistress, and to spend
the night like a mad man? For the fact is, that a thousand reflexions
rolled in his head; and the more he loved Fulvia, the more he feared to
find her unfaithful. 'Into what labyrinth have I thrust my self?' said
he to himself. 'And to what purpose? What advantage will accrue to me,
in case the favorite should win a castle; and what will be my fate, if
she loses it? But why should she lose it? Am I not certain of Fulvia's
love? Ah! I am in the sole and entire possession of her; and if her
Toy speak, it will be of me alone.--But if the treacherous--no, no, I
should have had some previous notion of it; I should have observed some
unevenness in her temper. Some time or other, these five years past,
she would have betrayed herself.--Yet the trial is dangerous.----But
it is now no longer time to recoil, I have lifted the vessel to my
mouth, I must finish, tho' I were to spill the liquor.----Perhaps also
the oracle will be in my favour.--Alas! what can I expect from it? Why
must others have failed in their attacks on that virtue, over which I
have triumphed?----Ah! dear Fulvia, I wrong thee by my suspicions, and
I forget what it cost me to conquer thee. A ray of hope enlightens me,
and I flatter myself that thy Toy will obstinately keep silence.----'"

Selim was in this agitation of mind, when he received a card from the
Sultan, which contained these words: _This night, precisely at half an
hour after eleven, you will be where you know._ Selim took his pen, and
answered with a trembling hand: _Prince, I will obey._

Selim passed the rest of the day, as he had done the preceding night,
fluctuating between hope and fear. Nothing is truer, than that lovers
have an instinct: if their mistress be unfaithful, they are seized with
an horror much like to that, which animals feel at the approach of bad
weather. The suspicious lover is a cat, whose ear itches in cloudy
weather. Animals and lovers have this property also in common, that
domestic animals lose this instinct, and that it grows dull in lovers,
when they are converted into husbands.

The hours seemed very tedious to Selim, he look'd a hundred times on
his watch: infine the fatal moment came, and the courtier went to
visit his mistress. It was late, but as he had admission at all hours,
Fulvia's appartment was opened for him----"I had given you over," said
she, "and I went to bed with a swimming in my head, which I owe to
the impatience you have thrown me into"----"Madam," answered Selim,
"business and respect have detained me with the Sultan; and since I
parted from you, I have not been master of myself one moment." "And
for my part," replied Fulvia, "I have been in a dreadful humour. How!
two whole days without seeing you."--"You know," answered Selim, "what
my rank obliges me to: and let the favour of the great appear ever so
fixed"----"How," interrupted Fulvia, "has the Sultan shewn you any
coldness? Has he forgot your services? Selim, you are pensive, you do
not answer me.----Alas! if you love me, of what avail is the prince's
good or bad reception to your happiness. It is not in his eyes, it is
in mine, 'tis in my arms that you are to seek it."

Selim listened attentively to this discourse, examined the countenance
of his mistress, and in its motions sought that character of truth, in
which a person is not deceived, and which is impossible to counterfeit
well: when I say impossible, I mean to us men: for Fulvia was so
perfectly composed, that Selim began to blame himself for having
suspected her, when Mangogul entered the room. Fulvia was silent in an
instant, Selim trembled; and the Toy said: "In vain does my lady make
pilgrimages to all the Pagoda's of Congo, she will have no children;
for reasons well known to me, who am her Toy.----"

At this declaration a deadly paleness seized Selim: he attempted to
rise, but his trembling knees failed him, and he fell back into his
seat. The invisible Sultan step'd up to him, and whispered in his ear:
"Have you enough?" "Alas! Prince," replied the melancholic Selim, "why
did I not follow the advice of Mirzoza; and the misgivings of my own
heart? My happiness is eclipsed, I am a lost man: I die, if her Toy
does not speak; if it does, I am a dead man: let it speak out however.
I expect frightful intelligences; but I fear them less than I hate the
state of perplexity, in which I am.----"

In the mean time Fulvia's first motion was to put her hand on her
Toy, and to shut its mouth: what it had hitherto said, might bear a
favorable interpretation: but she dreaded the sequel. As she began to
take courage on account of its remaining silent, the Sultan, urged by
Selim, turned his ring: Fulvia was obliged to spread her fingers, and
the Toy went on.

"I will never hold, I am too much harassed. The too assiduous visits
of so many holy men will always obstruct my intentions, and madam will
not have any children. If I had been regaled by none but Selim, I might
possibly prove fruitful: but I lead the life of a gally-slave. This day
fatigued by one, to morrow by another; and always at the oar. The last
man which Fulvia sees, is always the person, whom she believes destined
by heaven to perpetuate her race. None can be safe from this fancy. O
how tiresome is the condition of the Toy of a titled lady, who has no
heirs! These ten years past, I am exposed to people, who were not made
even to lift their eyes up to me."

Here Mangogul was of opinion that Selim had heard enough, to cure him
of his perplexity: wherefore he exempted him from the remaining part,
turned off his ring, and went away, abandoning Fulvia to the reproaches
of her lover.

At first the miserable Selim was petrified: but his fury giving him
strength and speech, he darted a scornful look on his unfaithful
mistress, and said: "Ingrateful, perfidious woman, if I loved you
still, I would take revenge: but as you are unworthy of my affection,
so you are likewise of my wrath. A man like me, Selim to be mixed with
a pack of scoundrels.----"

"Truly," interrupted Fulvia smartly, in the strain of an unmasked
courtisan, "it much becomes you to give yourself airs for a trifle:
instead of thanking me for concealing matters from you, which would
have made you mad at the time of their transacting; you take fire,
you fly into a rage, as if you had been injured. And pray, Sir, what
reason can you have for preferring yourself to Rickel, to Seton, to
Mollio, to Tachmas, to the most amiable cavaliers of the court, from
whom their mistresses won't be at the pains even of cloaking the slips
they make. Consider, Selim, that you are exhausted, infirm, and long
incapable of engrossing a pretty woman, who is not a fool. Acknowledge
then, that your presumption is ill-timed, and your rage impertinent.
Infine you may, if you are dissatisfied, leave the field open to
others, who will make better use of it." "So I do, and most heartily,"
replied Selim with excessive indignation: and went away, fully resolved
never more to see that woman.

He went home, and shut himself up for some days, less grieved for his
loss, than for his long error. Not his heart, but his vanity suffered.
He dreaded the reproches of the favorite, and the jokes of the Sultan;
and he shun'd the one and the other.

He was upon the point of resolving to renounce the court, to go into
retirement, and turn philosopher for the remaining part of a life, of
which he had thrown away a great part in quality of a courtier; when
Mirzoza, who guess'd his thoughts, undertook to comfort him, sent for
him to the Seraglio, and made him this speech. "Well, my poor Selim,
then you abandon me? 'Tis not Fulvia, it is me that you punish for her
infidelity. We are all concerned for your adventure, we agree that
it is vexatious: but if you set any value on the Sultan's protection
and my esteem, you will continue to enliven our company, and you will
forget that Fulvia, who never was worthy of a man like you."

"Madam," answered Selim, "age admonishes me that it is high time for
me to retire. I have sufficiently seen the world; and four days ago I
would have boasted that I knew it. But Fulvia's stroak confounds me.
Women are indefinable, and I should hate them all, if you had not been
included in the sex, of which you have all the charms. May Brama grant,
that you never imbibe their perverseness. Farewell, madam, I am going
to give myself up to useful reflections in solitude. The remembrance
of the favours, with which you and the Sultan have honoured me, will
follow me thither; and if my heart forms any vows henceforth, they will
be for your happiness and his glory."

"Selim," replied the favorite, "your chagrine is your adviser. You
are afraid of mockery, which you will less avoid by withdrawing from
court, than by remaining at it. Have as much philosophy as you will,
this is not the time to put it in practice; your retreat will be
attributed to peevishness and melancholy. You are not framed to confine
yourself in a desert; and the Sultan----"

Mangogul's arrival interrupted the favorite: she informed him of
Selim's design. "Then he is turn'd fool," says the prince; "is it
possible that the base usage of that little Fulvia has turn'd his
head." And then addressing himself to Selim----"That shall not be, my
friend, you shall stay," continues he: "I want your counsel, and madam
your company. The welfare of my empire, and Mirzoza's satisfaction
require it, and it shall be."

Selim, moved with the sentiments of Mangogul and the favorite, bowed
respectuously, staid at court, was loved, cherished, sought for, and
distinguished by his favour with the Sultan and Mirzoza.



CHAP. XLVII.

_Prodigious events of the Reign of Kanaglou, Mangogul's Grand-father._


The favorite was very young. Born towards the end of Erguebzed's
reign, she had scarce any idea at all of the court of Kanaglou. A word
accidentally dropt had given her a curiosity to know the prodigies,
which the genius Cucufa had wrought in favour of that good prince;
and none could more faithfully inform her than Selim. He had been an
eye-witness and even a sharer in them, and was throughly versed in
the history of his time. One day that he was alone with her, Mirzoza
put him on that topic, and asked him if the reign of Kanaglou, which
made so great noise, had seen greater wonders, than those, which then
engrossed the attention of Congo?

"I have no interest, madam," answered Selim, "in preferring times
past to those of the reigning prince. Great things are come to pass
under him, but they are perhaps no more than specimens of those which
will continue to render Mangogul illustrious; and my time is too far
advanced, to flatter my self with seeing them." "You are mistaken,"
replied Mirzoza; "you have acquired, and will keep the epithet of
eternal. But tell me what you have seen."

"Madam," continued Selim, "Kanaglou's reign was long, and our poets
have named it the golden age. This title suits it upon several
accounts. It has been signalized by successes and victories: but the
advantages were blended with crosses, which prove that this gold was
sometimes mixed with bad alloy. The court, which sets the example to
the rest of the empire, was very gallant. The Sultan had mistresses,
the nobility piqued themselves on imitating him, and the lower people
insensibly assumed the same air. The magnificence in dress, furniture,
and equipages, was excessive. Delicacy in feasting was reduced to an
art. People gam'd high, ran in debt, paid no body, and spent while
they had either money or credit. There were very good laws enacted
against luxury, but not put in execution. Towns were taken, provinces
conquered, palaces begun, and the empire drained of men and money.
The people sung victory, and were starving at the same time. The
great had stately castles and delightful gardens, and their lands lay
uncultivated. A hundred ships of war had rendered us masters of the
sea, and the terror of our neighbours: but a good calculator made an
exact estimate what it cost the government to keep these hulks in
good order; and notwithstanding the remonstrances of the rest of the
ministry, they were ordered to be turned into a bon-fire. The royal
treasury was a great empty coffer, which this wretched oeconomy did
not fill; gold and silver became so scarce, that the mints were,
on a summer's morning, converted into paper-mills. To compleat our
happiness, Kanaglou suffered himself to be persuaded by a set of
fanatics, that it was of the utmost importance, that all his subjects
should resemble him, and that they should have blue eyes, snub noses,
and red whiskers, as well as he: and he expelled from Congo above two
millions of people, who were not blessed with these regimentals, or who
refused to counterfeit them. Such, madam, was this golden age; such
those good old times, which you daily hear regretted: but let those
dotards prate on, and do you believe that we have our Turennes and our
Colberts, that, all things considered, the present is better than the
time past; and that if the people are happier under Mangogul than they
were under Kanaglou, his highness's reign is more illustrious than
that of his grandfather, because the happiness of the subject is the
exact measure of the greatness of the prince. But let us return to the
particulars of Kanaglou's reign.

"I will begin by the origin of the Pantins." "Selim, I will excuse
you, I know that story by heart," says the favorite, "proceed to other
matters." "Madam," answered Selim, "might one ask from whom you have
it?" "Why," says Mirzoza, "it is published." "True Madam," replied
Selim, "and by people, who knew nothing of the matter. I am out of
humour, when I see little obscure private persons, who have never been
near princes, but at a public entry into the metropolis, or some such
other ceremony, pretend to write their history.

"Madam," continued Selim, "we had spent the night at a masquerade in
the great salons in the Seraglio, when the genius Cucufa, a vowed
protector of the reigning family, appeared to us, and commanded
us to go to bed, and sleep twenty four hours on a stretch. He was
obeyed, and at the expiration of this term, the Seraglio was found
to be transformed into a vast and magnificent galery of Pantins. At
one end appeared Kanaglou seated on his throne: a long pack-thread,
almost worn out, hung down between his legs: an old decrepit fairy
was incessantly pulling it, and with a turn of her wrist, moved an
innumerable multitude of subaltern Pantins, to whom fine imperceptible
threads answered, which issued from Kanaglou's fingers and toes. She
pulled, and in an instant the seneschal drew up, and sealed ruinous
edicts; or pronounced a panegyric on the fairy, which was prompted by
his secretary: the minister of war sent card matches to the army; the
superintendant of the finances built houses, and suffered the soldiery
to starve; and so of the other Pantins.

"When any of the Pantins happened to execute their movements aukwardly,
by not lifting up their arms sufficiently, or not bowing their knee in
a proper manner, the fairy cut their threads with a jerk of her left
hand, and they became paralytic. I shall never forget two most valiant
emirs, whom she found deficient in their duty, and who were ever after
deprived of the use of their arms.

"The threads which issued from every part of Kanaglou's body, were
extended to immense distances, and from the palace of Congo, put
whole armies of Pantins into motion or winter quarters, even to the
remotest parts of Monoémugi. With one pull of the pack-thread, a town
was besieged, the trenches were opened, they battered in breach, and
the enemy was preparing to capitulate; but upon a second pull, the
besiegers fire slackened, the attacks were not carried on with the
same vigour, troops came to the relief of the place, dissentions were
kindled among the generals: we were attacked, surprized, beaten, and
routed.

"These bad tidings never gave any concern to Kanaglou: he seldom heard
them, till they were forgot by his subjects: and the fairy would not
suffer him to be informed of them, but by Pantins, who had each a
thread fastned to the tip of their tongue, and who said no more than
what she thought proper, on pain of being struck dumb.

"Another time we young fools were all charmed with an adventure,
which gave bitter scandal to the godly. The women all at once became
tumblers, and fell to walking with their heads down, their legs up in
air, and their hands in their slippers.

"This threw all our former knowledge into confusion; and we were
obliged to commence a course of studies on these new physiognomies.
Many were slighted, who ceased to be thought lovely, as soon as they
shewed themselves; and others, who were never so much as talked of,
gained vastly by making themselves known. Their petticoats and gowns
falling over their eyes, put them in danger, either of losing their
way, or stumbling: wherefore the former were shortened, and the latter
cut open before. Such is the origin of short petticoats and open
gowns. When the women returned to the use of their feet, they retained
this part of their dress as it was: and if we thoroughly consider the
petticoats of our fine ladies, we shall easily perceive, that they were
not made to be worn, as they are worn at this day.

"Any mode, that has but one drift, will soon pass away: in order to
make it lasting, it ought to answer two ends at least. In those same
days a secret was discovered for plumping the breasts downward: and it
is used at this day for plumping them upward.

"The devout women, surprized to find their heads down, and their heels
up in the air, at first covered themselves with their hands: but this
attention made them lose their poise, and stumble in their walks. By
the advice of the Bramins, they afterwards tied their petticoats about
their legs with little black ribbons. The gay part of the sex found
this expedient ridiculous, and publickly declared, that it incommoded
their respiration, and threw them into the vapours. This prodigy was
attended with happy consequences; it occasioned a number of marriages,
or somewhat like them, and a crowd of conversions. All those, who had
disagreeable buttocks, ran headlong into the religious party, and took
little black ribbons. Four missions of Bramins would not have made so
many proselytes.

"We had scarcely got rid of this trial, when we underwent another,
less universal indeed, but not less instructive. The young girls, one
and all, from thirteen to eighteen, nineteen, twenty years of age, and
upwards, rose on a fine summer's morning, the middle finger caught,
guess where, madam?" says Selim to the favorite. "It was not in their
mouth, nor in their ear, nor infine, _à la Turque_. Their disease was
easily guess'd, and the remedy quickly applied. From that time may our
custom be dated of marrying children, who are fit for nothing but
dressing their dolls.

"Another blessing: Kanaglou's court swarmed with _Petits-maitres_, and
I had the honour to be of the number. One day as I was entertaining
them with the young French nobility, I perceived our shoulders working
upwards, till they became higher than our heads: but that was not all;
in an instant we all fell to whirling about on one heel." "And what
rarity was there in that?" said the favorite. "Nothing, madam," replied
Selim, "but that the first metamorphosis is the origin of the round
shoulders, so much in vogue in your infancy; and the second, that of
the scoffers, whose reign is not yet over. Then, as now, a discourse
was begun to some one person, which by a sudden twirl on the heel, was
continued to a second, and finished to a third, to whom it became half
unintelligible, half impertinent.

"Another time we all found our selves short sighted, and were forced to
have recourse to Bion: the rogue made us pay ten sequins for glasses,
which we continued to use, even after recovering our sight. Thence
come, madam, the opera spy glasses.

"I could never learn what the fine ladies did to the Genius Cucufa
about this time; but he took severe vengeance of them. At the end of
a certain year, whereof they had spent the nights in balls, banquets,
and gaming, and the days in dressing, or between the arms of their
lovers, they were all astonished to find themselves horridly ugly. One
was as black as a mole, another bronzed over; a third pale and lean, a
fourth of a sickly yellow, and full of wrinkles. There was a necessity
to palliate this fatal enchantment, and our chemists found out the
white, the red, pomatums, waters, venus's handkerchiefs, virgins milk,
patches, and a thousand other cosmetics, which they employed, to avoid
appearing ugly, and becoming frightful. Cucufa still held them under
this curse, when Erguebzed, who loved beautiful women, became their
intercessor. The Genius did all that he could; but the charm was so
powerful, that he was not able to dissolve it thoroughly; and the court
ladies remained such as you see them at this day."

"Was the fate of the other charms the same?" says Mirzoza. "No, madam,"
answered Selim, "they lasted some longer, some shorter: the round
shoulders sunk by degrees, and people stood upright: and for fear of
being thought hump-back'd, they turned up their noses to the wind,
and danced as they walked. The whirlgig motion continued, and they
whirl about to this day. Broach a serious or sensible conversation in
presence of a young lord of the _bel air_; and _Zeste_, you shall see
him wheel away from you in an instant, and go mutter out a parody to
some body, who asks him the news of the war, or of his health; or to
whisper in his ear, that he supped last night with Miss Rabon, and that
she is an adorable girl; that there is a new romance coming abroad;
that he has read some pages of it, and that it is fine, very fine: and
then another twirl or two towards a lady, whom he asks if she has seen
the new opera, and answers her, that Miss Dangeville has performed to a
miracle."

Mirzoza found these ridicules very diverting, and asked Selim if he had
been a sharer in them. "How, madam," replied the old courtier, "was
it possible not to have them, without passing for a man come from the
other world? I put on the round shoulders, I stood erect, I danced in
walking, I cock'd the spy-glass, I whirled about, I hissed like the
rest: and the utmost efforts of my judgment went no farther than to
be one of the first in taking up these several biasses, and none of
the last in shaking them off." Selim was got thus far, when Mangogul
appeared. The African author does not inform us, what was become of
him, or what were his occupations during this preceding chapter.
Probably the princes of Congo may be allowed to perform indifferent
actions, to say miserable things sometimes, and to resemble the rest of
mankind, who spend a great part of their lives in doing nothing, or
such things at least, as are not worthy of being known.



CHAP. XLVIII.

_Twenty-eighth Trial of the Ring._

Olympia.


"Rejoice, madam," says Mangogul, coming in to the favorite's
appartment. "I bring you an agreeable piece of news. The Toys are a
parcel of little fools, who know not what they say. Cucufa's ring can
indeed make them speak, but not extort the truth from them." "And
how has your highness caught them in a lye?" says the favorite. "You
shall hear," answered the Sultan. "Selim promised you an account of
all his adventures, and you make no doubt but that he has kept his
word. Well then, I am just come from consulting a Toy, who accuses him
of a naughty trick, which he has not confessed to you, and which most
certainly he has not play'd, as it is quite contrary to his character.
To tyrannize over a pretty woman, to lay her under contribution, on
pain of military execution: can you discover Selim in this proceeding?"
"Pray, why not, Sir?" replied the favorite. "There is no malice of this
sort, of which Selim has not been capable: and if he has concealed
the adventure which you have discovered, possibly it is, that he is
reconciled to this Toy, that they are well together, and that he
thought he might keep that peccadillo from me, without swerving from
his promise."

"The perpetual falsity of your conjectures," replied Mangogul, "ought
to cure you of the disease of ever making any. There is nothing of what
you imagine in the affair: it is one of the first flights of Selim's
youthful days. It regards one of those women, who are gained in a
minute, but are never kept long."

"Madam," says Selim to the favorite, "in vain do I examine my self,
I can recal nothing more to my memory; and at present I find my
conscience quite clear."

"Olympia," says Mangogul--"Ah! Prince," interrupted Selim, "I know the
thing; but this little story is so old, that it is no wonder that it
has escaped me."

"Olympia," continued Mangogul, "wife of the chief cashier of Hasna,
had coiffed herself with a young officer, captain in Selim's regiment.
Her lover came to her one morning in deep concern, to inform her that
orders were issued for all the officers to set out and join their
respective corps. My grandfather Kanaglou had resolved that year
to open the campaign early: and an admirable project, which he had
formed, miscarried, purely through the making these orders too publick.
The politicians murmured, the women exclaimed, each party had their
reasons. I have told you those of Olympia. This woman took the party of
seeing Selim, and, if possible, to prevent the departure of Gabalis:
for that was her lover's name. Selim already passed for a dangerous
man. Olympia thought it was proper to have an escort: and two of her
female friends, as handsome as her self, offered to accompany her.
Selim was at home when they came. He received Olympia, who appeared
alone, with that easy politeness, which you know he is master of, and
asked what had procured him this agreeable visit? 'Sir,' says Olympia,
'I interest my self for Gabalis: he has some important affairs on his
hands, which make his presence necessary at Banza, and I come to you to
beg six months leave of absence for him.'

"'Six months leave, Madam? You do not consider,' replied Selim: 'the
Sultan's orders are precise: I am heartily concerned, that I cannot
make a merit towards you of a favour, which would infallibly ruin
me.' New instances on Olympia's side: on Selim's new refusals--'The
Grand Vizir has promised me, that I should be comprehended in the
next promotion. Can you desire me, madam, to drown my self, in order
to oblige you?' 'No, Sir, you may oblige me, without drowning your
self'--'Madam, it is impossible: but if you go to the Visir'--'Alas!
Sir, to whom do you send me, that man never did any thing for the
ladies'--'I rack my brain to no purpose: for I should be highly
rejoiced in being able to render you service, and I can see but one
way.' 'And which is that?' asked Olympia with eagerness.--'Your
intention,' answered Selim, 'would be to make Gabalis happy for six
months: but, madam, could you not dispose of one quarter of an hour
of those pleasures which you design for him?' Olympia understood him
wonderfully well, blushed, stammered; and concluded by exclaiming at
the severity of the condition. 'Let us say no more of the affair,'
replied the colonel with a cold air, 'Gabalis shall join his regiment:
the prince's service must be done. I might venture to take somewhat on
my self: but you are inflexible. At least, madam, if Gabalis departs,
it is you that send him away.' 'I,' cry'd Olympia sharply: 'Ah! Sir,
make out his warrant quickly, and let him remain here.' The essential
preliminaries of the treaty were ratified on a sopha, and the lady
thought she had made sure of Gabalis; when the traitor, who stands
before you, took it into his head to ask her, who those two ladies
were, who came with her, and whom she left in the next appartment.
'They are two of my intimate friends,' replied Olympia; 'and of Gabalis
too,' added Selim, 'beyond all doubt. This supposed, I do not believe
they will refuse to execute each a third part of the articles of the
treaty. Yes, this to me seems just: and to you, madam, I commit the
care of disposing them to it.' 'Indeed, Sir,' says Olympia, 'you are a
strange man. I protest, these ladies have no pretentions to Gabalis:
but in order to extricate them and my self from this _embarras_, if
you think me responsible, I will endeavour to discharge the bill of
exchange, which you draw on them.' Selim accepted the offer. Olympia
did honour to her word: and there, madam, is what Selim ought to have
informed you of."

"I excuse him," says the favorite: "Olympia was not so good an
acquaintance, that I should condemn him for having forgot her. I cannot
imagine whither you go to hunt out that sort of women: indeed, prince,
your conduct is that of a man, who has no desire to lose a castle."

"Madam, to me it seems, as if you had entirely changed your notions
within these few days," answered Mangogul: "do me the favour to
recollect the first trial of my ring, which I proposed to you; and you
will see, it was not my fault that I have not lost it ere now."

"Yes," replied the Sultana, "I know, you have sworn to me, that I
should be excepted out of the number of speaking Toys; and that since
that time you have applied to such women only as have forfeited
their character; to an Amina, a Zobeida, a Thelis, a Zulica, whose
reputations were already pretty well settled."

"I grant," says Mangogul, "that it would be ridiculous indeed to rely
on those Toys: but for want of others, I was necessitated to confine
myself to them. I have already told you, and I now repeat it: good
company with respect to Toys is scarcer than you think; and if you
will not resolve to gain yourself----"

"I," interrupted Mirzoza smartly, "I shall never have a castle while I
live, if I must use those means for obtaining one. A speaking Toy! Fy!
That is so indecent.----Prince, in one word, you know my reasons, and
with great seriousness I now reiterate my menaces."

"But, either do not complain of my trials, or at least hint at some
persons, to whom you think we may have recourse: for I am quite uneasy
that the affair is not terminated. Libertin Toys, and what next?
Libertin Toys, and always Libertin Toys."

"I have great confidence," says Mirzoza, "in Egle's Toy; and I wait
with impatience for the end of the fortnight which you demanded of me."

"Madam," replied Mangogul, "that term expired yesterday; and while
Selim was telling you stories of the old court, I learnt from Egle's
Toy, that, thanks to the ill humor of Celebi, and the constant
attendance of Almanzor, it's mistress can do you no service."

"Ah! Prince," cry'd the favourite, "what have you said?" "'Tis fact,"
replied the Sultan; "I will regale you with that story some other time:
but in the mean while seek another string to your bow."

"Egle, the virtuous Egle, has at length given herself the lye," says
the favorite in a surprize; "indeed I cannot recover myself." "I see
you are quite unhinged," replies Mangogul, "and know not whither to
turn yourself."

"Not so," says the favorite; "but I own to you that I depended much on
Egle." "Pray think no more about it," added Mangogul; "only tell us if
she was the only virtuous woman that you know."

"No, Prince, there are a hundred others, and amiable women too, whom
I will name to you," replied Mirzoza. "I will answer, as much as for
myself, for----for----"

Mirzoza stop'd short, without having pronounced any one name. Selim
could not refrain from smiling, and the Sultan from bursting out into
laughter, at the favorite's embarrassment, who knew so many virtuous
women, and could not recollect any one.

Mirzoza, piqued at this, turned to Selim, and said: "pray, Selim, help
me out, you, who are so great a connoisseur. Prince," continued she
directing her discourse to the Sultan, "apply to----whom shall I name?
prithee, Selim, assist me." "To Mirzoza," says Selim. "You make your
court to me very ill," replied the favorite. "I am not afraid of the
trial, but I abhor it. Name some one else quickly, if you would have
me pardon you."

"One may try," says Selim, "if Zaide has found the reality of the ideal
lover, which she formed to herself, and to whom she was formerly wont
to compare all those who made love to her."

"Zaide?" replys Mangogul. "I must own that she is a very proper subject
to make me lose." "She is," added the favorite, "perhaps the only
woman, whose reputation has been spared by the prude Arsinoe and the
coxcomb Janeki."

"This is strong," says Mangogul: "but the trial of my ring is a better
argument. Let us go directly to her Toy.

    "_That Oracle is surer much than Calchas._"

"How," adds the favorite smiling: "you retain your Racine, like a
player."



CHAP. XLIX.

_Twenty-ninth Trial of the Ring._

Zuleiman and Zaide.


Mangogul, without answering the favorite's joke, departed instantly,
and went to Zaide's house. He found her retired in a closet, at a small
table, on which he observed some letters, a portrait, and some trifles
scatter'd here and there, which came from a cherished lover, as it
was easy to presume, by the fondness she expressed for them. She was
writing; tears ran down her cheeks, and wetted the paper. Every now and
then she kiss'd the portrait with transport opened the letters, wrote
some words, returned to the portrait, snatched up the above mentioned
trifles, and pressed them to her breast.

The Sultan's astonishment was incredible; he had never seen any tender
woman, but the favorite and Zaide. He thought himself beloved by
Mirzoza: but did not Zaide love Zuleiman better still? And were not
this pair the only true lovers of Congo.

The tears, which Zaide shed in writing, were not tears of sorrow. 'Twas
love that made them flow. And in that moment, a delicious sentiment,
which arose from a certainty of possessing the heart of Zuleiman, was
the only one that affected her. "Dear Zuleiman," cry'd she, "how I love
thee! how dear thou art to me! How agreeably thou employest me! In
those instants, when Zaide has not the happiness of seeing thee, she
writes to thee how much she is thine: separated from Zuleiman, his love
is the only conversation which gives her pleasure."

Zaide was thus far advanced in her amorous meditation, when Mangogul
pointed his ring at her. Immediately he heard her Toy send forth a sigh
and repeat the first words of her mistress's monology. "Dear Zuleiman,
how I love thee! how dear thou art to me! how agreeably thou employest
me!" Zaide's heart and Toy were too well agreed, to vary in their
discourse. Zaide was surprized at first; but she was so sure that her
Toy would say nothing, but what Zuleiman might hear with pleasure, that
she wish'd him present.

Mangogul repeated his trial, and Zaide's Toy repeated with a soft
tender voice: "Zuleiman, dear Zuleiman, how I love thee! how dear
thou art to me!" "Zuleiman," says the Sultan, "is the happiest
mortal of my empire. Let us abandon this place, where the image of a
happiness greater than mine is presented to my sight, and afflicts
me." Accordingly he withdrew, and went to his favorite with an air of
inquietude and pensiveness. "Prince," says she, "what ails you, you
say nothing to me of Zaide?"----"Zaide is an adorable woman, madam,"
replied Mangogul. "She loves beyond any thing that ever loved"--"So
much the worse for her," says Mirzoza. "What do you say?" replied the
Sultan.----"I say," answers the favorite, "that Kermades is one of the
most disagreeable persons of Congo; that interest and the authority of
the parents made that match; and that there never was a couple worse
sorted than Kermades and Zaide."

"But, madam," replies Mangogul, "it is not her husband that she
loves"----"Who then?" says Mirzoza.----"'Tis Zuleiman," replies
Mangogul----"Adieu then to the Porcelains and the little Sapajou,"
added the Sultana----"Ah!" says Mangogul whispering to himself, "this
Zaide has struck me: she pursues me, she occupies my thoughts; I must
absolutely see her again." Mirzoza interrupted him by some questions,
which he answered in monosyllables. He refused a game of piquet which
she proposed, complain'd of a head-ach which he counterfeited, retired
to his appartment, went to bed without supping, which he had never
done before, and had no sleep. The charms and tenderness of Zaide, the
qualities and happiness of Zuleiman tormented him the whole night.

One may easily imagine, that he had no business so much in his head
this day, as to return to Zaide. He walk'd out of his palace, even
without enquiring after Mirzoza, the first time that ever he fail'd in
this point. He found Zaide in the same closet as the preceding day, and
Zuleiman with her; who held his mistresses hands between his own, and
had his eyes fixed on her. Zaide on her knees, and inclining forward,
darted glances animated with the most ardent passion on Zuleiman. They
continued some time in this attitude: but both in the same instant
yielding to the violence of their desires, they rush'd into each others
arms, and embraced with eagerness. The profound silence, which had
hitherto reigned about them, was disturbed by their sighs, the sound
of their mutual kisses, and some inarticulated words, which slip'd
from them----"You love me!"----"I adore you"----"Will you love me
constantly?"----"Alas! the last sigh of my life shall be for Zaide!----"

Mangogul overwhelm'd with sorrow, threw himself into an easy chair,
and covered his eyes with his hand. He dreaded seeing things, which
are easily imagined, and yet did not happen. After a silence of some
moments, "Ah! dear and tender lover," says Zaide, "why have I not
always found you such as you are at present? I should not love you the
less, nor should I have any reproach to throw on myself.----But you
weep, dear Zuleiman. Come, dear and tender lover, come, and let me
wipe off your tears. Zuleiman, you cast down your eyes, what ails you?
Pray look on me.----Come, dear friend, come, that I may comfort thee:
cling thy lips on my mouth, breathe thy soul into me, receive mine;
suspend----Ah! no----no"----Zaide finished her discourse with a deep
sigh, and was silent.

The African author informs us, that this scene touched Mangogul most
sensibly, that he built some hopes on the impotence of Zuleiman, and
that some secret proposals were made on his behalf to Zaide, who
rejected them, and never made any merit of it with her lover.



CHAP. L.

_Platonic Love._


"But is this Zaide an unique? Mirzoza is no ways inferior to her in
charms, and I have a thousand proofs of her affection. I desire to be
loved, I am, and who has told me that Zuleiman is more so than I? I
was a fool to envy another's happiness. No, there is no man under the
heavens happier than Mangogul." Thus began the remonstrances, which
the Sultan made to himself. The author has surpressed the rest, and
contents himself with apprizing us, that the prince paid more regard to
them, than to those which his ministers presented him with, and that
Zaide never after returned on his mind.

One of those evenings, that he was entirely satisfied with his mistress
or with himself, he proposed sending for Selim, to walk in the groves
of the Seraglio. These were verdant closets, where many things may
be said and done without witnesses. In their way thither, Mangogul
turn'd the conversation on the reasons people have for loving. Mirzoza,
mounted on grand principles, and fill'd with idea's of virtue, which
certainly did not suit with her rank, person, or age, maintain'd
that people very frequently loved for the sake of loving; and that
connections begun by a likeness of characters, supported by esteem, and
cemented by mutual confidence, were very lasting and constant; without
any pretensions to favors on the man's side, or on the woman's any
temptation to grant them.

"Thus it is, Madam," replied the Sultan, "that you have been spoil'd
by romances. In them you have seen hero's respectuous, and princesses
virtuous even to folly; without reflecting that those Beings never
existed but in the brains of authors. If you ask Selim, who thoroughly
well knows the catechism of Cythera, 'what is love?' I would lay a
wager that he would answer you, that love, is nothing else but----"

"Would you lay a wager," interrupted the Sultana, "that delicacy of
sentiments is but a chimæra, and that without hopes of enjoyment, there
would not be a grain of love in the world? If so, you must certainly
entertain a very bad opinion of the human heart."

"So I do," replied Mangogul, "our virtues are not more disinterested
than our vices. The brave pursues glory by exposing himself to dangers;
the coward loves tranquility and life; and the lover desires enjoyment."

Selim declaring himself of the Sultan's party, added, that if two
things happened, love would be banished from society, never more to
make its appearance again.

"And which are those two things?" says the favorite. "They are,"
replied Mangogul, "if you and I, madam, and all the race of mankind,
chanced to lose what Tanzai and Neadarne found in a dream."

"What! You believe," interrupted Mirzoza, "that without those pitiful
things, there would be neither esteem nor confidence between two
persons of different sexes? A woman adorn'd with talents, wit and
beauty, would not touch? A man bless'd with an amiable person, a fine
genius, and excellent character, would not be heeded?"

"No, madam," replies Mangogul; "for pray tell me what he would say?"

"A number of pretty things, which I think would always afford much
pleasure to hear," answers the favorite.

"Observe, madam," says Selim, "that those things are said every day
without love. No, no, madam, I have complete proofs, that without a
well organised body, there is no love. Agenor, the handsomest young
man of Congo, and the most refined wit of the court, would, if I had
been a woman, in vain shew me his genteel leg, turn his large blue eyes
on me, squander on me the most artful praise, and set himself off with
every other advantage of which he is master; I would say but one word,
and if he did not give an express answer to this word, I might have all
possible esteem for him, but I should not love him."

"That is positive," added the Sultan, "and you yourself will allow the
justness and utility of this mysterious word, when one loves. You ought
indeed, for your instruction, to cause the conversation of a wit of
Banza with a school-master to be related to you. You could comprehend
in an instant, how the wit, who sustained your thesis, confessed in the
end that he was in the wrong, and that his antagonist reasoned like a
Toy. But Selim, of whom I had it, will you tell the story."

The favorite imagined, that a story, which Mangogul would not relate
to her, must be very mortifying: and therefore she went into one of
the arbors, without asking it of Selim, and happy it was for him; for
with all his wit, he would have ill satisfied the favorite's curiosity,
or much allarm'd her modesty. But in order to amuse her, and make her
forget the story of the school-master, he related the following.

"Madam," says the courtier, "in a vast country near the sources of the
Nile, lived a young man, beautiful as Adonis. Before he was eighteen
years of age, all the maidens contended for his heart, and there were
few women, who would not accept of him for their lover. Born with an
amorous heart, he loved as soon as he was in a condition to love.

"On a certain day, while he was in the temple assisting at the public
worship of the great Pagoda; and was, according to the usual ceremony,
preparing to make the seventeen genuflexions prescribed by the law; the
beauty, with which he was captivated, chanced to pass by, and darted
a glance on him accompany'd with a smile, which threw him into such
distraction, that he lost his poize, fell on his nose, scandalized
the congregation by his fall, forgot the number of genuflexions, and
performed but sixteen.

"The great Pagoda irritated at the offence and scandal, punished him
cruelly. Hilas, for that was his name, the poor Hilas felt himself
instantly inflamed with the most violent desires, and smack-smooth as
the palm of his hand, deprived of the means of gratifying them. Equally
surprized and grieved at so great a loss, he consulted the Pagoda.
'Thou shalt never be restored to thy pristine state,' answered she
sneezing, 'but between the arms of a woman, who shall not love thee the
less for knowing thy misfortune.'

"Presumption is generally the companion of youth and beauty. Hilas
fancied that his wit and the comeliness of his person would soon gain
him a heart of nice sentiments; who content with what he had remaining,
would love him for himself, and soon restore to him what he had lost.
He first addrest himself to the lady, who had been the innocent cause
of his misfortune. She was young, brisk, voluptuous and a coquet. Hilas
adored her, and obtained a meeting; where by a train of allurements he
was drawn into the road leading to a place which it was impossible for
him to reach. In vain did he torment himself, and in the arms of his
mistress seek the accomplishment of the oracle: nothing appeared. When
the lady was tired of waiting, she set herself to rights in a moment,
and quitted him. The worst of the affair was, that the foolish girl
told it in confidence to one of her female friends, who, out of her
great discretion, related it but to three or four of hers, who did the
same to as many others: so that Hilas, two days before the darling of
all the sex, was despised, pointed at, and looked on as a monster.

"The wretched Hilas, cried down in his native country, resolved to
travel, and seek a remedy for his disease in remote climes. He set out
alone, and arrived incognito at the court of the Abyssinian emperor.
The young stranger was singled out by the ladies, and the contest was,
who should have him but Hilas prudently avoided all engagements, in
which he had apprehensions of not finding his account, proportionable
to his certainty that the women who pursued him would not find theirs
in him. But observe and admire the penetration of the sex: 'a man so
young, so comely, and so modest,' said they, 'is quite a prodigy:' and
the union of these qualities in him had almost made them suspect his
real defect; so as, for fear of allowing him what an accomplished man
should have, to refuse him the very thing which he wanted.

"After having for some time studied the chart of the country, Hilas
linked an acquaintance with a young woman, who, by some unknown
caprice, had passed from refined gallantry to the highest devotion. He
gradually insinuated himself into her confidence, espoused her notions,
copied her practices, handed her in and out of the temples, and
conversed with her so frequently on the vanity of worldly pleasures,
that he insensibly revived her taste, as well as remembrance of them.
They had now, for above a month, frequented the mosques, assisted at
sermons, and visited the sick together, when he prepared himself for
a thorough cure; but all in vain. His devote friend, tho' intimately
acquainted with all the transactions of heaven, knew as well as others,
how a man should be made on earth: and the poor lad lost in a moment
all the fruits of his good works. If any thing consoled him, it was,
that his secret was inviolably kept. One word would have rendered his
disease incurable; but this word was not uttered, and Hilas linked in
with some other pious women, whom he took, one after another, for the
specific ordained by the oracle, and who did not break his enchantment,
because they loved him only for what he was not. The habit, they had
acquired of spiritualizing all objects, was of no service to him. They
required sense, but it was of that sort which springs from pleasure.
Hilas complained that they did not love him. But their answer was,
'pray, sir, are you ignorant, that people should know each other,
before they love; nay, you must acknowledge, that, disgraced as you
are, you are not lovely even when you are known.'

"'Alas!' said he retiring, 'this pure love, so much talked of, is no
where to be found; this delicacy of sentiments, upon which both sexes
value themselves, is a mere chimæra. The oracle has deceived me, and my
disease is for life.'

"In his way, he met some of those women, who allow no other commerce
with man, but that of the heart, and who hate a forward spark like a
toad. They so seriously recommended to him to let nothing gross and
terrestrial enter into his views, that he conceived great hopes of his
cure. He complied heartily, and was quite astonished, after the amorous
conversations, which they held with him, that he still remained as he
was. 'I must certainly be cured,' said he to himself, 'but perhaps
otherwise than by words:' and he sought an occasion of placing himself
according to the intentions of the oracle. Thus it soon offered. A
young female platonic, who was excessively fond of walking, led him
into a lonesome wood and when they had penetrated far from the reach
of any impertinent eye, the fair one was seized with a fainting
fit. Hilas threw himself on her, and neglected nothing in his power
to relieve her; but all his endeavours were fruitless: of which she
soon became as sensible as himself. 'Ah! Sir,' cried she, disengaging
herself from his arms, 'what sort of man are you? I shall be very
cautious of ever venturing thus into lonesome places, where I have been
taken so ill, and may dye a hundred times for want of help.'

"Others knew his condition, pitied him, protested to him, that the
tenderness they had conceived for him, should not change; and never saw
him more.

"The miserable Hilas, with his graceful figure, and the most refined
sentiments, gave great dissatisfaction to many ladies."

"Then he was a fool," interrupted the Sultan. "Why did he not address
some of the vestals, of which our monasteries are full? They would be
charmed with him, and he would infallibly receive his cure through a
grate."

"Prince," replied Selim, "chronicles assure us, that he tried that
method, and found by experience, that the sex of all conditions do not
care to love to their certain loss." "If that be the case," said the
Sultan, "I take his distemper to be incurable." "So did he himself
as well as your highness," continued Selim; "and tired out with
unsuccessful trials, he plunged himself into solitude, on the word of
an infinite number of women, who had expresly declared to him, that he
was useless in society.

"He had already been several days rambling in a desert, when he
heard some sighs issuing from a lonely place. He listened, the
sighs began again, he drew near, and saw a young maiden, fair as
the morn, her head leaning on her hand, her eyes bathed in tears,
and the rest of her body in a pensive and mournful posture. 'What
seek you here, madam?' said he to her. 'And are these deserts
made for you?' 'Yes,' replied she in a melancholy strain: 'I can
at least afflict myself here quite at my ease.' 'And what is the
cause of your affliction?'--'Alas!'--'Speak, madam, what is the
cause?'----'Nothing'----'How, nothing?'----'No, nothing at all, I say,
is the cause of my grief: two years ago I had the misfortune to offend
a Pagoda, who deprived me of my all: and it was so small a matter, that
in so doing, she gave no great proof of her power. Since that time, all
the men shun me, and will shun me, said the Pagoda, until I meet with
one, who knowing my misfortune, will cleave to me, and love me in the
state, in which I am.'

"'What do I hear!' cried Hilas. 'This wretch, whom you behold at your
feet, has nothing, and that is his distemper likewise. Some time since
he had the misfortune to offend a Pagoda, who deprived him of all that
he had, and without vanity it was somewhat. From that time all the
women shun him, and will shun him, said the Pagoda, until he meets with
one, who, knowing his misfortune, will cleave to him, and love him in
the state, in which he is.'

"'Is this possible?' says the young maiden.----'Is what you have told
me true?' says Hilas.----'See,' answered the maiden. 'See,' answered
Hilas.

"They both convinced each other beyond all doubt, that they were two
objects of the celestial wrath. Their common misfortune united them.
Iphis, this was the young maiden's name, was made for Hilas, Hilas
was made for her. They loved each other in a platonic manner, as you
may easily imagine; for they could not well love otherwise: but in an
instant the inchantment was broken, they uttered cries of joy on the
event, and platonic love vanished.

"During several months, that they continued together in the desert,
they had full time to be persuaded of their change. When they quitted
it, Iphis was perfectly cured; but as to Hilas, the author says that he
was threatned with a relapse."



CHAP. LI.

_Thirtieth and last trial of the Ring._

Mirzoza.


While Mangogul was entertaining himself with the favorite and Selim,
news was brought him of the death of Sulamek. Sulamek's rise began by
being appointed the Sultan's dancing-master, and that even contrary to
the intentions of Erguebzed: but some intriguing ladies, whom he had
taught certain dangerous steps, pushed him with all their might, and
so bestirred themselves, that he was preferred to Marcel and others,
whose deputy he was not worthy of being. He possessed the spirit of
trifling, the court jargon, the gift of telling diverting stories, and
of amusing children; but he knew nothing of the high dance. When the
post of Grand Vizir became vacant, by dint of cringing, he supplanted
the great Seneschal, who was an indefatigable dancer, but stiff-necked,
and bowed with a bad grace. His ministry was not signalized by any
events glorious to the nation. His enemies, (and who is there without
them? true merit has many) accused him of playing ill on the violin,
and of having no knowledge of choregraphy; of having suffered himself
to be duped by the Pantomimes of Prester John, and to be affrighted by
a bear from Monoémugi, who danced one day before him; of having given
millions to the emperor of Tombur to keep him from dancing, at a time
when he had the gout, and spent yearly five hundred thousand Zecchins
in resin, and more in persecuting all the fidlers, who played any other
minuets but his own: in a word, of having slept fifteen years of a
stretch, at the sound of a cymbal of a clumsy native of Guinea, who
accompanied his instrument with some Congo songs. True it is, that he
had introduced the fashion of Dutch lime trees, &c.

Mangogul had an excellent heart: he regretted Sulamek, and ordered
him a magnificent burial, with a funeral oration, which the orator
Brrrouboubou was ordered to make.

On the day appointed for the ceremony, the chief Bramins, the whole
Divan in a body, and the Sultanas led by their eunuchs, went to
the great mosque. Brrrouboubou proved for two hours together, with
surprizing rapidity, that Sulamek had risen to his high station by
superior talents, made prefaces on prefaces, did not forget either
Mangogul or his exploits during the administration of Sulamek; and he
had almost spent himself in exclamations, when Mirzoza, to whom a lye
gave the vapors, fell into a fit of the lethargy.

Her officers and women ran to her assistance; she was put into
her palanquine, and instantly carried to the Seraglio. Mangogul,
being informed of the danger she was in, ran to her; and the whole
Pharmacopoeia was rummaged. The Garus, general la Motte's drops, the
English drops, were all tried, but to no purpose. The distressed
Sultan, one moment weeping over Mirzoza, the next swearing at
Orcotomus, at length was deprived of all hopes, except some glimmerings
which might remain in his ring. "If I have lost you, delight of my
soul," cried he, "your Toy, as well as your mouth, must keep eternal
silence."

In an instant he commanded every body to withdraw: he was obeyed; and
being alone with the favorite, he turned his ring on her. But Mirzoza's
Toy, which was tired at the sermon, as it happens to others every
day, and besides had probably a touch of the lethargy, at first only
mutter'd some confused and ill articulated words. The Sultan repeated
the experiment, and the Toy then very distinctly said: "Separated from
you, Mangogul, what would become of me?--Faithful even to the grave, I
would have sought you; and if love and constancy have any recompence
among the dead, dear prince, I would have found you--Alas! without you
the delightful palace where Brama dwells, and which he has promised to
his true believers, would prove a disagreeable residence to me."

Mangogul, transported with joy, did not perceive that the favorite
was recovering from her lethargy; and that, if he did not turn off
his ring, she would hear the last words of her Toy: which happened
accordingly. "Ah! prince," said she, "what is become of your oaths? You
have then cleared up your unjust suspicions? Nothing has withheld you,
neither the condition I was in, the injury you were doing me, nor the
word you had given me?"

"Madam," replied the Sultan, "impute not to a shameful curiosity, an
impatience, which the despair for having lost you, has alone suggested
to me. It was not an usual trial of my ring, that I made on you; but
I believed that I might, without breach of promise, make use of a
resource, which restores you to my vows, and secures my heart to you
for ever."

"Prince," says the favorite, "I believe you; but pray restore the ring
to the Genius, and let not his fatal present disturb your heart or
empire for the future."

Mangogul immediately made a prayer, and Cucufa appeared. "Almighty
Genius," said Mangogul, "take back your ring, and continue me your
protection". "Prince," answered the Genius, "divide your days between
love and glory. Mirzoza will certainly afford you the first of these
blessings; and I promise you the second."

At these words the hooded spectre closed the tails of his owls, and
went off, as he came, in a whirling motion.


The End.





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